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Can I prevent my ex-spouse from moving with my children?

Can I prevent my ex-spouse (custodial parent) from moving with my children? If you object, your ex-spouse will have to get the Court’s approval to take the children with them.

Relocation Statute Indiana Code § 31-17-2.2

Requires the custodial parent to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate with the court 90 days prior to moving. Once the notice is filed, the non-custodial parent has 60 days to file an Objection to Relocation with the court. The required information includes, among other things, the following:

  • The new address and telephone number.
  • The statement of the reasons for the proposed relocation.
  • A proposal for a revised schedule of parenting time.
  • A statement informing the Non-relocating Party that any objection to the children’s relocation must be filed within sixty (60) days after receipt of the Notice, and
  • A statement informing the Non-relocating Party that they may file a petition to modify a custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order.

An Objection with the Court must be filed within 60 days or the custodial parent is automatically permitted to move with the children.

If you have filed an objection, the Court will set the matter for an evidentiary hearing. Your ex-spouse must first show that the proposed relocation is being made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. A legitimate reason can range anywhere from obtaining a better paying job, to relocating for a fiancé, to moving closer to family.

After your ex-spouse meets this initial burden of proof, then the burden shifts to the non-custodial parent to show that the relocation isnot in the best interest of the child. Some of the typical reasons include:

  • Your children have significant ties to you or other family members and they cannot be maintained if the children move.
  • Your children have significant ties to a community, school, or church and they cannot be maintained if the children move.
  • Your ex-spouse has shown a pattern of alienating children from you.
  • The benefit of increased salary is lost by increased expenses in new city or increased expenses associated with transportation for parenting time.
  • Any other factors affecting the vest interests of the child.

A judge cannot legally prevent the parent from moving, but he or she can prohibit the children from relocating if it is not in the children’s best interests. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is best to consult with an Indiana family law attorney regarding your options as soon as you are put on notice that your ex may try to move with your child. Please contact Mario Massillamany if you would like additional information about relocation.