Gavel, wooden figures of parents and children on desk

Relocating With the Kids After Divorce

Shep Law Group Feb. 6, 2023

Any time you relocate to another state, you face a lot of logistical challenges that require months of preparation, time, and budgeting for related expenses. However, when you attempt relocation after a divorce when you share children with your ex-spouse, you’ll be facing legal hurdles as well that must be addressed. Whether you’re the parent who’s interested in moving out of state with the children, or your co-parent is attempting to move, you should always consult with a family law attorney to ensure you’re not violating your child custody agreement and are following all applicable laws. If you live around the Boise or Meridian, Idaho, areas and would like to learn more about your options, call us at Shep Law Group to schedule an appointment.  

Relocating With Your Child In Idaho  

Under Idaho law, a parent who shares custody of a child is typically not permitted to relocate with them to another state, or even within the state, if the move is more than around 50 miles away. This is to ensure that both parents can still play a meaningful role in their child’s life and fulfill their obligations under their child custody agreement. In almost all divorce cases, a judge will rule that it’s in the best interests of the child to have frequent and regular contact with both parents when at all possible. Therefore, if one parent wants to move out of state with a child, they must prove to the court that there’s been a “permanent and material” change in their life or the life of their child and that the move is in the best interests of the child. 

Notification Requirements 

Because it’s usually a violation of a custody agreement to move with a child across state lines, the parent who wishes to relocate must submit a notification of intent to relocate to the courts. And, although it’s not spelled out in the law, you should also notify the other parent of your wishes (and ideally, talk with them before going before a judge) to come to an agreement that meets everyone’s needs. You should never attempt to move with children without first getting approval from the court, or else you risk forfeiting all your custody rights. 

Factors the Court Will Consider  

There are two main factors a judge will look at when a parent requests to move with their child: one, that the best interests of the child are being met; and two, that the move is predicated on a “permanent and material change in circumstances.” Within these categories, a judge will evaluate why the parent wants to move (whether it’s for a job, schooling, or medical care), whether the child will still be able to have a meaningful relationship with both parents after the move, the feelings of the other parent about the move, how well the child will adjust to the new environment, the wishes of the child, and whether there’s any threat to the child’s physical or emotional safety.   

Visitation for the Noncustodial Parent  

One of the biggest hurdles when relocating after a divorce is ensuring the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent are still honored. If a judge deems the move to be too far that it will prevent the other parent from maintaining a meaningful relationship with their child, or if the travel expenses to visit the child present too much of a burden, a judge may decline the request. 

Skilled Legal Advocacy  

If you’d like to speak with a child custody lawyer in Boise or Meridian, Idaho, or anywhere throughout the state, reach out to our team at Shep Law Group today.