Negotiating Out-of-state Custody Arrangements
States have different laws regarding child custody, especially when one parent lives in a different state from his or her children. Negotiating child custody is difficult enough without adding the challenges of a long-distance parenting relationship after your divorce.
Whether you are currently divorcing or you are interested in seeking to revise your current child custody arrangements, your state’s laws may prevent you or the other parent from moving out of the state with the children unless you meet certain conditions. Become familiar with your state’s laws concerning moving out of state and how that affects your custody status.
Here are 5 things to know that will help you negotiate your out-of-state custody arrangement:
- Know what state is considered to be your family’s home state. In most situations, you can file for custody in what is considered the children’s home state. A home state is generally considered to be where you and your children have lived for six consecutive months.
- Know the laws of your state concerning the right of the custodial parent to move out of state with the children. With a greater emphasis on equal parenting rights, many states have made tighter restrictions on what a custodial parent can do when it comes to relocating.
- Know that the family court will only approve changes or revisions to the child custody agreement if they are in the best interests of the children. In other words, you must show how your solutions to the out-of-state challenges you face will help your children’s development rather than hinder it.
- Know what an interstate custody arrangement means to your lifestyle and that of your children. New challenges may include providing all or part of the transportation cost for your children’s visits or driving them all or partway to the other parent’s home.
- Know that today’s technology can have a significant impact on maintaining the children’s bond with the long-distance parent, and that any out-of-state custody arrangement should include details on frequent, open and accessible communication between parents and children.
Whether you are moving away for a new job or the other parent is seeking to live closer to aging parents, negotiating an out-of-state custody agreement can trigger negative emotions. The thought of living far away from your children may cause you to dig in your heels and refuse to be flexible.
Although refusing to negotiate may bring you some satisfaction in frustrating the other parent, it is not the best thing for your children. Your intimate relationship with the other parent may be over, but you will always be in a partnership when it comes to raising your children.
To help them become well-adjusted, emotionally stable adults, it’s critical that your children develop meaningful relationships with both of you. Don’t stand in the way of your children creating lasting bonds with either of you.
Once you and the other parent recognize that it is in your children’s best interests to maintain deep and meaningful relationships with both of you, you can shift your focus from conflict with each other to agreeing on what’s best for them.