Moving with No Custody Agreement: Can You Do It?
When a couple with children separates, one of the many issues that needs to be resolved is custody. A custody agreement outlines who has legal and physical custody of the children and how much time they spend with each parent. However, not all couples have a custody agreement in place. This can be because they have an amicable relationship and have worked out a parenting plan without the need for a legal agreement, or because they were never formally married.
But what happens when one parent wants to move with the children and there is no custody agreement in place? Can they do it without the other parent’s permission?
The short answer is no. If there is no custody agreement in place, both parents have equal rights to the children. This means that neither parent can move with the children without the other parent’s permission or a court order. Any unilateral move could be seen as parental kidnapping and could lead to serious legal consequences.
So, if you want to move with your children and there is no custody agreement in place, your first step should be to try to work out an agreement with the other parent. This can be done through negotiation, mediation, or with the help of a lawyer. Both parents should be clear about the reasons for the move and how it will affect the children’s wellbeing. It may be helpful to have a detailed parenting plan in place to address how future child custody and visitation arrangements will be handled.
If an agreement cannot be reached, then the parent who wants to move will need to seek a court order allowing the move. This is not an easy process, and it will require a showing that the move is in the best interests of the children. The court will consider a variety of factors when making its decision, such as the reasons for the move, the impact on the children’s relationships with both parents, and the availability of alternative visitation arrangements.
It is important to note that if a parent moves with the children without the other parent’s permission or a court order, the other parent can seek to have the children returned to their state of residence. This can be done through a legal process known as a Hague Convention proceeding.
In short, if you are considering moving with your children and there is no custody agreement in place, you need to proceed with caution. Working out a parenting plan with the other parent is always the best option. If that is not possible, seeking a court order is the next step. Remember that any unilateral move without the other parent’s permission or a court order can have serious legal consequences.