Those going through divorce proceedings in Gastonia may certainly feel a sense of finality at their conclusion, the fact is that life goes on following the dissolution of a marriage. Part of that may include one of the parties involved eventually choosing to relocate. Indeed, statistics suggest that such an outcome is probable, given that the website Moving.com reports that as much as 10% of the American population relocates every year. 

When a divorced couple shares custody of children, the issue of relocation can easily become contentious. It is often left for the family court having jurisdiction over a custody case to decide how to handle it. 

Modifying custody in response to a proposed relocation 

To be clear, courts typically will not bar one from moving; rather, they will consider whether or not a proposed relocation merits drastically altering a couple’s custody arrangement. While a move will almost certainly require some changes, “altering” in this context could mean reducing or expanding one party’s current custodial role. 

A 1992 North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling set the standard for determining custody modifications in light of a relocation. It specifically designated the following factors as relevant when making such a judgment: 

  • The advantages relocating offers to the children subject to the custody arrangement 
  • The motive the relocating parent offers in support of the move 
  • The likelihood that the relocating parent will continue to comply with the current custody arrangement 
  • The validity of the reasons offered by the non-relocating parents in opposition to the move (if any) 
  • The likelihood that the non-relocating parent will be able to maintain strong ties with the children following the relocation 

Working together in advance of a move 

A divorced couple can ensure modifications to their custody arrangement due to a relocation remain in their control by working together to come up with an amended custody agreement prior to a proposed relocation.