Maybe you and your ex share custody of your child after a divorce. Maybe you never got married, but you both have parental rights and you got them written out with a court case when you broke up so that you would never risk losing your child. No matter how it happened, both of you have legal rights and a custody schedule for splitting time with your child.

Now, you want to move to another state. Maybe it’s just across the border. Maybe it’s on the other side of the country. If you were single and did not have a child, you’d just move whenever you wanted. Does that change now that you have a child? Can you actually move?

You may be able to, but it’s a tricky process. Remember that you can’t take the child out of the state and limit your ex’s ability to see him or her. That would violate your ex’s rights. Do not simply move on your own. First, you need to go to court to see if you can modify the custody agreement and get permission to move. Some reasons the court may grant that permission include:

  • You got into a college or university
  • You got a job offer
  • The move can improve the child’s quality of life
  • The move puts you closer to your own parents

The key, though, is to remember that both you and your ex have rights here. You’re not just making decisions for yourself anymore. You must know what legal steps to take and in what order to take them to avoid violating those rights.