Ohio Child Custody Laws: What Happens When a Parent Moves Out of State?

The United States is a fast moving, constantly changing society. Many people move in and out of different states every year. According to The New York Times, approximately 25 percent of the people who currently live in Ohio were born outside of the state. Moving to a new state is always challenging. For divorced or separated parents who have young children, relocating to a new state is especially complicated

In this article, our skilled Columbus, OH child custody attorneys provide a comprehensive overview of what happens when a parent moves out of the state of Ohio. It is important to note that multi-state child custody cases can be especially complex. If you need help with your specific custody case, please do not hesitate to reach out for professional legal support.  

Know the Law: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

As a starting point, Ohio parents should know that our state is a signatory to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Ohio and 48 other U.S. states have signed on to this law, which controls jurisdictional issues in multi-state child custody and visitation cases. There are two critically important things that Ohio parents should know about this law:

  1. The child’s ‘home state’ will have jurisdiction over them in all custody cases and related family law issues; and
  2. Courts must enforce custody and visitation orders from other states.

In other words, child custody and child visitation orders are reciprocal. A valid custody order that was obtained in Ohio will apply all throughout the United States. Likewise, a valid custody order from another state will still apply in Ohio. If Ohio is your child’s home state for the purposes of the UCCJEA is Ohio, then our state’s family law courts will govern any child custody or child visitation disputes.  

Parental Relocation: Notice of Intent May Be Required

You may be in a situation in which either you or your former partner is planning on moving out of the state of Ohio. In a parental relocation case, it is very important that parties look to the child custody order or child custody agreement.

If the custodial parent is planning on relocating with the child, then it is very likely that Ohio law will require that parent to file a notice of intent to relocate with the court that put their custody order into place. In essence, the custodial parent has a duty to give the other parent notice of their planned out-of-state move. This rule is designed to ensure that the other parent has time to respond to the proposed moved.

If the non-custodial parent is moving out of state without the child, they are generally not legally obligated to file a notice of intent. Of course, regardless of this fact, it is still always a good idea to keep your family updated on your long-term plans. In addition, it is possible that this parent’s visitation rights will be impacted by the move. Logistics may warrant a new visitation schedule.

The Big Question: Can a Parent Move a Child Out of the State of Ohio?

This is a question that does not have an easy answer: it will always depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Ultimately, Ohio’s best interests of the child legal standard controls parental relocation cases. An Ohio family law court may block the move if the court determines that it is better for the child to stay in Ohio in order to live with their other parent who is not relocating.  In assessing parental relocation cases, Ohio courts will consider a wide range of different factors, including:

  • The reason behind the proposed move;
  • The total distance of the move;
  • The impact the cross-state move will have on the child’s social development;
  • How the proposed relocation will affect the parent who is staying in Ohio; and
  • If they are old enough, the desires of the child.

The bottom line: Parental relocation cases are highly complex. If you or your spouse is planning to move a child outside of the state of Ohio, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Columbus custody lawyer.

Speak to an Ohio Family Law Attorney Today

At the Lawrence Law Office, our compassionate family law attorneys have deep experience handling complex child custody claims. If you or your former partner is moving out of the state of Ohio, we can help protect your rights.

For a fully private, no obligation consultation, please contact our law firm today. From our offices in Delaware and Columbus, we serve parents throughout the region, including in New Albany, Powell, Lewis Center, Upper Arlington, and, Sunbury.

Linda Lawrence

About Linda Lawrence