Emerging from your divorce proceedings in Wilmington with custody of your children is likely to come as a great relief. Yet earning it can take its toll, so much so that you think the best way for you and your kids to get over it is to move. Many have come to us here at The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C. with this desire wanting to know if it is a possibility. We can tell you that it is, but earning the right to do so may not be easy.
Many states have enacted laws that deal specifically with the issue of parental relocation; North Carolina, however, is not one of them. This issue is instead typically dealt with on a case-by-case basis. For a long time, it was generally assumed that if you and your ex-spouse had an actual custody order in place, moving away with your kids was not an option. Yet a 1992 state appellate court ruling began to change that. In the case of Ramirez-Barker v. Barker, 107 N.C.App, the court established five criteria to be evaluated when considering allowing a custodial parent to relocate. These are:
- How likely the move would be to improve your kids’ quality of life
- Your motives for wanting to move
- The likelihood of you continuing to comply with the terms of your visitation order once you were no longer subject to the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts
- Your ex-spouse’s motives for opposing the move
- The chances of an amended visitation schedule allowing your children to still maintain a strong relationship with your ex-spouse
The burden of proof typically falls to you to present evidence supporting the need for your kids’ relocation. More information on moving on with life following your divorce can be found here on our site.