Relocation with children is never easy when parents are not married. Your legal obligations differ depending on whether you are moving away from Ohio or firmly planting down roots in the Buckeye state. Any error, however, could imperil your custody rights, so following the law is critical. Our Ohio child custody lawyers are here to provide any legal assistance you require. Please contact us today.
Providing Proper Notice Of A Move As A Residential Parent
Parents with residential custody who want to move can’t just pack up a suitcase and strap their child into a car seat. Instead, Ohio law requires that they provide written notice of the move to the Ohio court that has jurisdiction over child custody issues.
Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.051(G) provides rules regarding notice. Interestingly, the rule applies to any move to a residence other than one that is specified in the court order. In other words, even a move across town or down the street triggers the notification requirement.
The notice of intent to relocate must also be filed with the court that issued the child custody order. This might not be the court that is closest to you now. Review your paperwork to identify the correct court.
The court will send the other parent notice of the relocation unless there has been a history of domestic violence. This gives the parent an opportunity to object to the proposed relocation and to request a court hearing. In some situations, the court might schedule a hearing on its own initiative.
Moving As The Nonresidential Parent & Modifying Custody
If you are not the residential parent, you have more leeway to move. However, the current parenting plan may no longer work for you because you live farther away from your children. In this situation, you need to work out a modification to the parenting plan, since you do not have rights to access your children other than what is included in the child custody decree.
We recommend that you work with an attorney. The residential parent might be agreeable to changes, especially as children age. If you get along well with your ex, you could both agree to a modified parenting plan and submit it to the judge for approval.
If you cannot agree, then you will need to petition the court for a modification. A court will consider your request only if there has been a change in circumstances, but a move farther away should qualify, especially if the move makes it harder to see your children. A judge will then decide whether a modification is in the child’s best interests.
Putting Down Roots In Ohio
If you moved to Ohio, then there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights. For example, you should register your out-of-state custody orders with the Ohio court in the county where you live. Ohio is a signatory to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), so it will recognize valid orders issued from your child’s home state.
Registration is important because you might need to enforce the orders. An Ohio court is empowered under the UCCJEA to take any action available under state law for enforcement.
Child Support & Other Non-Custody Issues
Many disputes can arise after a parent relocates, some of which do not involve custody. Child support is a big one. Your ex might move to Michigan or Kentucky and suddenly stop paying child support. What can you do to get support? Will a court in another state help you?
Unfortunately, the UCCJEA doesn’t apply, since that law involves only custody. Instead, a different federal law covers child support, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. All 50 states have adopted the law and must defer to the child support order entered by the child’s home state. Courts in the home state have exclusive jurisdiction to modify any child support award.
If your ex refuses to pay, you might need to garner his or her wages. The law allows a parent to mail a court order to your ex’s employer, which requires them to withhold pay. Parents might also need a court in another state to enforce the child support order.
Our Ohio Child Support Attorneys Can Help
Parental relocation complicates the co-parenting process, but powerful state and federal laws have created a process for handling disputes. If you are moving to Ohio, or if you are involved in a relocation dispute, please contact Lawrence Law Office today. Our lawyers will review the circumstances and decide on the correct course of action.