#LouisianaRelocationLaws

What does Louisiana law say about relocating a child’s residence after divorce? Part 1 in a 4 part series.

Part 1: How far is too far?

So, you have gone through a messy divorce and custody battle, or you and your ex-spouse agreed to the custody of your child or children fairly easily.  Now, you want to move and you want your children to come with you.  What does Louisiana law say about this?  Louisiana requires certain people to make certain notifications if they are moving, with the child or children, a certain distance from their current residence or the other parent.  In part one of this four-part series, we will explore under what circumstances these “relocation statutes” come into play – more specifically, the distance requirement.

Before we can explore how far one needs to move for these relocation statutes to come into play, we need to determine the principal residence of the child.  La. R.S. 9:355.1 (1) provides:

(1)  “Principal residence of a child” means:

  • (a) The location designated by a court to be the primary residence of the child.
  • (b) In the absence of a court order, the location at which the parties have expressly agreed that the child will primarily reside.
  • (c) In the absence of a court order or an express agreement, the location, if any, at which the child has spent the majority of time during the prior six months.

If you have a court order, or the parties have expressly agreed to the primary residence of the child then this determination is easy.  However, without a court order or express agreement, it must be determined where the child spent the majority of his or her time during the last six months.

Once you have determined the principal residence of your child, you must next determine how far you would like to move and if that distance triggers obligations under the relocation statutes.  La. R.S. 9:355.1 (B) reads:

  1. This Subpart shall apply to a proposed relocation when any of the following exist:
  • (1) There is intent to establish the principal residence of a child at any location outside the state.
  • (2) There is no court order awarding custody and there is an intent to establish the principal residence of a child at any location within the state that is at a distance of more than seventy-five miles from the domicile of the other parent.
  • (3) There is a court order awarding custody and there is an intent to establish the principal residence of a child at any location within the state that is at a distance of more than seventy-five miles from the principal residence of the child at the time that the most recent custody decree was rendered.
  • (4) If either no principal residence of a child has been designated by the court or the parties have equal physical custody, and there is an intent to establish the principal residence of a child at any location within the state that is at a distance of more than seventy-five miles from the domicile of a person entitled to object to relocation.

If you intend to move, with your child or children, out of state – then you have obligations under the Louisiana relocation statutes.  If there is no court order, if no principal residence of the child or children has been designated by the court, or if you and your ex-spouse have equal physical custody then moving more than seventy-five miles from the other parent triggers your responsibilities under the statutes.  Finally, if there is a court order awarding custody, then you cannot move more than seventy-five miles from your child or children’s residence without abiding by your obligations under the Louisiana relocation statutes.

Now that you know the distance requirements, in part two we will explore who is authorized to propose relocation of the child or children, in part three we will discuss what your obligations are under the statutes, and in part four you will learn what consequences you face for not abiding by the Louisiana relocation statutes.  Stay tuned…

As always, interpretation and application of child custody and other laws requires an experienced attorney.  If you or someone you know is seeking to relocate with their children after a divorce or separation, please feel free to contact Stanley-Wallace Law.  We are here to help!