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Navigating Move-Away Child Custody Cases in North Carolina and South Carolina

When one parent wishes to relocate with their child, it can complicate existing custody arrangements and raise significant legal questions. Courts in both North Carolina and South Carolina take these cases seriously, prioritizing the child’s best interests while balancing the rights of both parents. Here's how courts generally determine whether one parent can move away with the child and how you can prepare for this kind of case with the help of your attorney.

An overhead view of a toddler boy sitting inside the cardboard box looking up

Factors Courts Consider in Move-Away Cases

  1. Best Interests of the Child:

  • Stability: Courts look at how the move will impact the child’s stability, including their emotional, educational, and social well-being.

  • Educational Opportunities: The quality of schools and educational opportunities in the new location versus the current location.

  • Family and Community Ties: The presence of extended family and the child’s involvement in the community and extracurricular activities.

  1. Reason for the Move:

  • Courts evaluate the relocating parent’s reason for the move. Valid reasons might include a job opportunity, educational advancement, or moving closer to family support.

  1. Impact on Visitation and Relationship with the Non-Custodial Parent:

  • The feasibility of maintaining a meaningful relationship with the non-custodial parent post-move is crucial. Courts consider the distance, travel costs, and the ability to maintain regular visitation.

  1. Existing Custody Arrangement:

  • The current custody arrangement and the level of involvement of each parent in the child’s life are examined.

  1. Age and Needs of the Child:

  • The child’s age, special needs, and preferences (if the child is mature enough to express a reasoned preference) are also considered.

  1. Parental Cooperation:

  • The willingness of the relocating parent to foster the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent is assessed.

Preparing for a Move-Away Case

  1. Consult with Your Attorney:

  • Legal Advice: Seek advice from an experienced family law attorney. They can provide guidance specific to your situation and help you understand your legal rights and obligations.

  • Case Strategy: Your attorney will help develop a strategy, gather evidence, and prepare your case for court.

  1. Gather Evidence:

  • Document Reasons for Moving: Collect evidence supporting your reason for relocation, such as job offers, letters of acceptance from educational institutions, or medical reasons.

  • Show Impact on Child: Provide documentation on how the move will benefit the child’s well-being, such as information on better schools or proximity to supportive family members.

  • Propose Visitation Plan: Develop a feasible visitation plan to maintain the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. Include details on travel arrangements, costs, and how you plan to facilitate communication.

  1. Prepare Testimonies:

  • Witnesses: Identify and prepare witnesses who can testify on behalf of your reasons for moving and the benefits to the child. This could include teachers, doctors, family members, or employers.

  • Child’s Perspective: If appropriate, be prepared to present the child’s perspective. However, this should be handled delicately and typically through a guardian ad litem or child psychologist.

  1. Maintain Open Communication:

  • Co-Parenting: Demonstrate a willingness to co-parent and maintain the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. Courts favor parents who show cooperation and flexibility.

Move-away child custody cases are complex and require careful consideration of various factors. Preparing thoroughly with the help of an experienced attorney can significantly enhance your chances of a favorable outcome. By focusing on the best interests of the child and presenting a well-supported case, you can navigate the legal challenges of relocation.

For personalized legal assistance and expert guidance in handling move-away child custody cases, contact Brown & Associates, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the complexities of family law in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Contact Us:

Brown & Associates, PLLC Attorneys & Counselors at Law Park South Professional Center 10440 Park Road, Suite 200 Charlotte, NC 28210

Tel: 704-542-2525 Fax: 704-541-4751


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