The answer might surprise you—not very far at all.
Many people find that they want to move at some point after a divorce, for romantic or professional reasons. However, Ohio law is clear that you need permission from a court before you can move if you have shared custody of a child. This requirement can be very annoying, especially if you are not moving very far away. Nevertheless, parents need to comply with the law, and the law doesn’t really let you go anywhere without telling the court.
Ohio’s Law On Relocation
Under Ohio Revised Code § 3109.051(G), the residential parent must file a notice of intent with the court if he or she intends to move to a residence different than the one specified in the parenting time order. This means that even if you intend to move down the street, you need to provide notice to the court.
The court will then send a copy of the notice to the other parent, who can request a hearing on the issue. The court can also on its own initiative schedule a hearing. A judge will need to decide whether you can move and retain custody of the child or whether the judge needs to modify the parenting time order.
Is The Other Parent Ever Not Given Notification?
If the parent has been convicted of a domestic violence offense, then the statute states that the judge might not give notice of your intent to relocate. However, it’s unlikely that a parent convicted of domestic violence would be given joint custody, to begin with.
Will A Judge Let Me Move?
You can always move. The key is whether you will still retain custody of your children when you move. That is the issue the judge will decide.
A judge will look at many factors to decide whether to allow you to keep custody if you move out of your home:
- Why you want to move. Personal reasons? Professional? New romantic interest?
- How far you want to move. If you aren’t moving very far at all, then a judge will probably agree to the move. However, if the move makes it hard for the other parent to see the children, then this factor can work against you.
- Your child’s ties to the community. Are friends and other relatives here? How is your child doing in school? The more ties, the harder it is to move.
- Your child’s relationship with the other parent. If the other parent has reduced the amount of time they spend together, a judge might approve the move.
- Whether you will continue to promote your child’s relationship with his or her other parent after the move. If you have a history of trying to disrupt their relationship, then it will be hard to convince a judge to let you move.
Can The Other Parent & I Reach An Agreement Ourselves?
Yes. You can meet and agree to a revised parenting plan. Of course, you still need the judge to approve, but most judges are thrilled when parents work together to come up with a new plan that works for them. This saves the court from having to make difficult judgments involving parents and custody.
After discussion with the other parent, you might decide to that your children should stay with the parent who is not relocating. This often makes sense if your children are integrated into school and don’t want to move. You can then adjust the parenting plan to give yourself visitation when it makes sense. If you are moving very far away, you might get most of your visitation during summer vacation. If you are moving a short distance, you might have two weekends a year and split holidays.
Involve your attorney, who can be an excellent resource and help you negotiate with the other parent. The last thing you should do is just move with the children. You could end up losing custody in that way.
Call Us Before Moving Or with Questions About Relocation With Joint Custody
If you share custody but want to move, please meet with an attorney at Lawrence Law Office. We will help you analyze whether a judge is likely to give you permission to move your children. We can also help you bring up the issue with the other parent so that he or she isn’t blindsided.
Contact us today. We can represent you in court or while negotiating with your child’s other parent. You can meet with us for a free, confidential consultation to go over your options.