Many families choose to relocate and get a fresh start when schools are out for summer. Whether you move for a new job, to be closer to your family, or just for a change of scenery, relocating after a divorce is complicated when there are children involved. In some circumstances, this change can affect your custody arrangement, so knowing how to prepare and what to expect is crucial.
So, what are the requirements for relocation in Virginia?
Rules of Relocation
When a custodial parent plans to relocate with their child, Virginia law requires that they provide 30 days of advance notice to the court and the other parent. This may sound simple, but complications can arise if the other parent does not approve of the move. If you expect any objection or pushback from your child’s other parent, be prepared to defend your decision to relocate.
You’ll be expected to justify your reasons for moving. The most important thing you’ll need to prove is that this decision is in the child’s best interests. Specifically, there is a set of factors that a judge will want to evaluate. These include:
- The physical and mental condition of each parent;
- The age, condition, and needs of the child or children;
- The role each parent has played thus far in the child’s care;
- The relationship between each parent and the child; and
- The willingness of each parent to foster a healthy co-parenting relationship.
There are many other factors and details that can impact a judge’s decision in these matters. Our dedicated team of attorneys has over 20 years of combined experience at our disposal to help you with your child custody case. We can answer any questions you might have about Virginia’s laws and how they may affect your plans to move.
In the event you do relocate with your child, how long must you live in your new home for court jurisdiction to be established? That answer can be complicated. The Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was enacted to create a set of rules for all states to follow in situations like this.
The UCCJEA says that the court with jurisdiction over a custody case is the one where a child has lived, uninterrupted, for six months or more. However, if there is already a custody or visitation order established in another state, and the other parent continues to reside in that state, then jurisdiction will remain there. To make things even more complicated, there is also an exception to this rule that involves factors like the length of a child’s residency in Virginia, domestic violence issues, and the financial status of the parents.
The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller can help you navigate the complexities of Virginia’s child custody laws. Call us today at (757) 267-4949 or contact us online to set up an initial consultation.