Can I Move My Child Out-of-State During a Divorce?
Divorce and child custody matters are complicated enough as it is. However, things can become even more contentious and difficult when one parent is thinking of relocating a child during the divorce.
In short, while moving a child to another state in divorce proceedings is certainly possible, whether this can be done in your case will ultimately depend on the particular facts and circumstances.
If you are considering moving your child to another state as part of your divorce, there are a few things you should know. Use our guide below to learn more about the child relocation process in Nevada, the impacts of an out-of-state move on custody, and how the attorneys at Mills & Anderson can help you fight for your custody rights.
General Overview of Moving a Child to Another State in a Nevada Divorce
Seeking to relocate a child to another state during or after a divorce proceedings in Nevada can be a complicated and confusing process. That said, it can be done in some situations when certain criteria are met.
Notably, however, the process for seeking a child relocation will vary slightly depending on the underlying custody arrangement.
Child Relocation Where One Parent Has Primary Physical Custody
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) § 125C.006 addresses the process if one parent has been awarded primary physical custody of the child and wishes to relocate their residence outside of Nevada or to another location within the state that would substantially impair the other parent’s ability to maintain a relationship with the child. To accomplish this, the custodial parent must first attempt to obtain the written consent to relocate from the noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent will not consent, the custodial parent’s remaining option is to petition the court for permission to relocate the child over the objection of the noncustodial parent.
Child Relocation Where Joint Custody Has Been Established
The process for seeking a child relocation where both parents share joint physical custody is similar to the above scenario in that the parent seeking the relocation must first attempt to obtain the written consent of the non-relocating parent. Here, however, if the non-relocating parent refuses to provide their consent to the relocation, the relocating parent will have to petition the court for primary custody, after which time they may seek permission to relocate.
Petition for Permission to Relocate
In either scenario, where the non-relocating parent refuses to consent, the relocating parent must file a petition with the court for permission to relocate the child. Under NRS § 125C.007, to obtain permission from the court for a child relocation, the relocating parent will first have to establish the following:
- That there is a sensible, good-faith reason for the requested relocation;
- That, by relocating, the petitioner is not attempting to purposely deprive the non-relocating parent of their parenting time;
- That it is in the child’s best interest to allow the relocation; and
- The requested relocation will result in an actual advantage to the child and the relocating parent.
If the relocating parent is able to demonstrate each of these elements, the court will then move to its next inquiries. This includes considering the impact of the requested relocation on the child and the extent to which the relocation will accommodate the child’s best interests.
The Best Interest of the Child Standard
As in most child custody-related matters, the court’s overarching consideration is the best interest of the child. Thus, the court presiding over any child relocation case will only grant the request if it determines that doing so would, in fact, be in the best interests of the child.
In making its decision, the court will weigh certain factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The motives of the relocating parent in seeking the relocation,
- The motives of the non-relocating parent in resisting the petition for relocation by the relocating parent,
- Whether and to what extent the relocation could improve the quality of life for the child and relocating parent,
- The likelihood that the relocating parent will comply with any substitute visitation orders if the court does choose to grant permission to relocate, and
- Whether the local parent can regularly see their child and preserve their parental relationship if the court grants the relocation.
If you are looking to relocate your child or seeking to defend against a petition for relocation, give us a call to discuss the facts of your options.
Consequences of Unlawful Relocation
The process of seeking a child relocation can seem like an uphill battle with numerous hoops to jump through. However, it’s important that you carefully follow the process in accordance with Nevada law. Failure to do so can result in significant consequences to both you and your child.
For example, an unlawful relocation of your child can result in:
- Payment to the non-relocating parent as reimbursement of their costs and attorney’s fees incurred due to the unlawful relocation,
- Conviction of a category D felony,
- Imprisonment in state prison, and
- A fine of up to $5,000.
Thus, if both parents cannot agree to the sought child relocation, it is imperative that you properly seek permission from the court before taking any further action.
Mills & Anderson: Your Trusted Child Relocation Attorneys
Child relocation is a complex legal process that can have significant implications on your life for years to come. Thus, it’s important to have someone in your corner with the knowledge and experience to help you protect and pursue your legal rights.
While you are not legally required to hire an attorney, doing so can provide a number of benefits. For example, an attorney can help you negotiate with the opposing party and their legal counsel, draft the petition for permission to relocate, draft other necessary court filings, and argue your case in court. In short, an attorney can provide you with valuable legal expertise and peace of mind in what can otherwise be a time-consuming and stressful process.
At Mills & Anderson, we have decades of experience helping family law clients just like you. But beyond experience, we also pride ourselves on providing personalized attention to our clients and handling each case with integrity, care, and the highest ethical standards. Thus, when you hire our team, you can feel confident knowing that your family will be in capable hands.
When you’re ready to move forward, contact our team to discuss your case and see what we can do to help with your child custody matter moving forward.