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Can you keep your ex-spouse from moving away with your kids?

One of the great challenges that you may face following your divorce is maintaining a strong relationship with your children. When you and your ex-spouse share custody (or he or she has sole custody of the kids), your lack of constant access to them can no doubt have an impact on the bond you share. This is true even if they simply live in another home in Wilmington; imagine, then, how much more strained your relationship can become if your ex-spouse chooses to relocate to another city (or another state). Is there anything you can do to prevent this from happening?

North Carolina has no official statute that deals with parental relocation. However, you do have some legal options you can pursue if your ex-spouse seems intent on leaving (even without your consent). You can petition to modify your custody agreement, which could potentially halt a move until a ruling on your case can be made.

Seeking a change to your custody agreement does not guarantee, however, that the court will not allow your spouse to move (or even if it will prevent them from taking the kids with them). The court will evaluate the reasons for the move and compare them to the relocation standard set by the North Carolina Supreme Court has set, which is:

  • What benefits would relocating have your children’s lives?
  • Why is your ex-spouse planning on relocating?
  • Will your ex-spouse comply with your custody arrangement once they are gone?
  • What are your motives for opposing the move?
  • Can an amended custody arrangement realistically preserve the current relationship you have with your kids?

Being proactive in this situation may be beneficial. Once you know of your ex-spouse’s intentions, sit down together and try to come up with an amended plan that is acceptable to you both.

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