North Dakota is a beautiful state with a lot to offer, but divorce can give people reason to want to move. Especially if your ex has ties in the state and you have family elsewhere, moving may seem like the best way to restart your life after a difficult divorce.
However, if you share custody with your ex, moving could be more difficult than you might initially expect. Especially if you have primary custody in the form of residential responsibility, the courts and your ex may take issue with your desire to relocate, especially if you intend to move out of the state. What do you have to do if you want to relocate with your kids after a divorce?
Make sure you’re moving for the right reasons
Although it may be your first impulse to get as far away from your ex as possible, that degree of separation usually isn’t an option once you have children together. The courts want custodial parents to act in the best interests of the kids. They set custody terms based on their presumption that the family members will do what is right for the children.
Moving because you have family, job opportunities or educational opportunities is beneficial for your children because the family as a whole will benefit from your improved financial and social status. However, moving just to get away from your ex, especially if you hope to keep them from seeing the kids, is something the courts will likely frown on and may even penalize you for.
You may have to defend your reasons for wanting to move in court if the courts or your ex take issue with your decision.
You have to notify the other parent and the courts ahead of time
When the courts finalized your divorce, their custody arrangements likely included specific restrictions on relocation, if not all forms of travel. The courts have a say in whether or not you can retain residential responsibility for the kids and relocate with them.
If your ex agrees with your decision, the courts are much likelier to quickly acquiesce and approve the request. However, if your ex doesn’t agree, you may have to pursue a modification hearing that will adjust the custody order to allow the relocation.
Getting help during this process can increase your chances of success and can help you avoid pitfalls during this process that could set you up for failure.