Even after a divorce and is finalized and the custody battles are over, it can be difficult to know how to proceed with your children moving forward. For example, perhaps you’d like to relocate and you want your children to come with you.
Louisiana law has relocation requirements that can help us understand what is and is not allowed. Retaining a dedicated family law attorney to help you through this process is critical to ensure you follow all the legal requirements.
First, “Principal Residence”
The most important piece of information regarding whether a child can move with you is the child’s principal residence. The legal definition of principal residence is either:
- The location designated by a court to be the primary residence of the child;
- In the absence of a court order, the location where the parties have expressly agreed the child will primarily reside;
- Or, in the absence of a court order or an express agreement, the location (if any) where the child has spent the majority of time during the prior six months.
The first two examples of principal residence of the child can be determined fairly easily. Otherwise, without a court order or express agreement, the child’s principal residence will be wherever he or she spent the majority of time during the last six months.
How far is too far?
Once you have determined the principal residence of your child, you must next determine how far you would like to move.
Certain distances trigger obligations in Louisiana law, including the following circumstances:
- If you intend to move out of state with your child, then you have obligations under the Louisiana relocation statutes.
- If you intend to move more than seventy-five miles away from the other parent and there is no court order, no principal residence of the child designated by court, or you and your ex-spouse have equal physical custody, your responsibilities are triggered.
- Lastly, 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.
It is important to note, however, that consultation with a family law attorney regarding any move, particularly when you share equal custody of your child with your ex, is paramount.
Any move, while not a violation of the relocation statutes, may have a negative (or positive) effect on any custody matter.
Now that you know the distance requirements, it’s important to learn who is authorized to propose relocation of the child or children. You should also have an understanding of your obligations are under the various statutes. Finally, learn about the consequences for not abiding by the Louisiana relocation statutes.
Get Legal Help Today
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!