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Tackling the issue of parental relocation

It is not uncommon for many who are recently divorced to want to move away from Wilmington. Most may do so with the blessing of their ex-spouses provided that children are not involved. When a divorced couple shares custody of children, then one parent moving can drastically alter the other's access to the kids. The fear is that a parent may do this simply as a way of "getting back" at their ex-spouse. Therefore, the court does offer some recourse to non-relocating parents in these situations. 

Per Section 50-13.7 of North Carolina's General Statutes, a parent can petition the court to have their custody agreement modified (or even vacated) if they can show that there is good cause to do so. In the case of parental relocation, one might argue that allowing their ex-spouse to relocate with the couple's kids without modifying their custody agreement would place undue strain on their parental relationship with their children. Like most states, North Carolina follows the assumption that it is in the best interest of children to continue to have relationships with both their parents. Contesting a relocation by seeking a custody modification places the burden on the relocating parent to show the court why their move is necessary and why it may not warrant a change in their custodial situation. 

The website for the North Carolina Judicial Branch shows that parents wanting to modify their custody agreements must take the following action: 

  • Complete the necessary forms and documents
  • File a petition with the Civil Division of the Clerk of the Superior Courts office in the county in which they live
  • Attend the state's Mandatory Custody Mediation Program
  • Serve notice their ex-spouses regarding their petition 

A failure to see to these steps could undermine one's claim with fighting for a custody modification. 

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
3965 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403

Toll Free: 877-231-9829
Phone: 910-338-5559
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North Carolina Bar Association | Seeking Liberty &; Justice | NHCBA | NEW HanOver County Bar Association, Inc. | P.O. Box 2180, Wilmington, NC 28402
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