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January 2, 2020

How Relocation Can Affect Custody Agreements

After the end of a marriage, it is common for one spouse to want to move. Starting a new chapter can mean new relationships, new jobs and a desire to relocate to start anew. However, if children are involved, custody can be impacted by moving.

How Parent Relocation Affects Custody Orders

If a couple is divorced and one party moves, it can affect the rights of one parent to see their children and establish a relationship. If a custodial parent wishes to move within the state, the courts usually will not intervene unless the child’s best interests are considered to be compromised by such a change.

Child custody relocation laws in South Carolina, however, require custodial parents to get permission from a judge before moving out-of-state with children. The laws allow non-custodial parents to object to these types of out-of-state moves, and a court hearing may be held to determine whether the child’s interests are served by the relocation.

Child Custody and Relocation Agreements in South Carolina

If a couple cannot agree about a custodial parent’s proposed relocation in South Carolina, a relocation hearing may be arranged. This is where each parent can present their case about moving or objecting to a move. Once the hearing is complete, the judge will consider whether to allow the custodial parent to move.

The judge will consider several factors when making a decision, including the possible advantages of the move for the child and the custodial parent. Will the move mean better schools, a higher income, a better job or other factors that will improve life for the minor and for the custodial parent?

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The judge will also consider how much care went into planning for the move and will evaluate how visitation can be preserved to ensure the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent continues.

If the judge permits the move, a new agreement will be created for the non-custodial parent to ensure they continue to have the right to see their child. This may involve limiting visits to holidays and vacations. If the non-custodial parent will face significant transportation costs because of the move when they wish to see their child, the court may alter child support. In addition, the non-custodial parent who objects to a move can ask the judge to change the custody agreement.

Considering Relocation During and After a Divorce?

In all cases, whether parents remain in the same state or not after a divorce, South Carolina courts make every effort to act in the best interests of the child or children involved. Unfortunately, two parties may have very different ideas of what represents the best interests of their children.

If you are going through a divorce or have gone through a divorce and now need representation because one of the parties wishes to move, you can contact us at Lauren Taylor Law or call us at 843-790-9009 to set up a consultation. You may also wish to read the Lauren Taylor Law blog to learn more about family law in South Carolina.