Modifying child custody orders to allow a move out of state

Question:Divorce lawyer Aisha Pridgen

My new husband is going to join the military, and I have a son from a previous marriage where I have primary custody and my ex-husband gets our son every other weekend.

What are the chances that I will be able to get the custody agreement changed to where I can have my son during the school year and move out of the state or the country with my son and husband and let my ex-husband have him during the summers?


A child custody order is always modifiable.

The first step is to file the appropriate motion based on the prospective move. In the motion, you must ask for the court to modify custody based on the move so that the biological father’s visitation schedule can be modified and you can relocate.

As the moving party, you must show there will be a substantial change of circumstances that affects the welfare of the minor child. The court will consider a number of factors in a relocation case including, but not limited to, the custodial parent’s motive for relocating, can a realistic visitation for the non-custodial parent be arranged, and will the move improve the child’s life.

In this case, the court will be seeking to determine if the move is a substantial change of circumstances that positively affects the welfare of the minor child. Ultimately, the court will evaluate how the move will impact the child.

If, after the court considers all relevant evidence, and determines that the prospective move is a substantial change of circumstances that positively affects the welfare of the minor child, the court may modify the current order in consideration of the move.

The court will seek to modify the custody order so that a realistic visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent can be established once you relocate, and, most importantly, in a manner that serves the best interest of the child.

You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction as the information I have provided is only general in nature. Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide.

To schedule an appointment with Aisha Pridgen, an Associate Attorney in the Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina offices, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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