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Relocation: Can My Ex-Spouse Move My Children Out Of Ohio?

Many divorced or unmarried parents fear that the other parent will move out of state and take their child(ren) with him or her. At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, our lawyers are experienced in representing parents who wish to relocate as well as parents who oppose such moves.

If one parent has sole custody, that parent is not restricted from moving out of state with the children unless there is specific language about that in the custody order. The same is true for parents who have shared parenting. Until the court order is changed, however, the parenting time/visitation schedule remains in effect and the moving parent is subject to sanctions from the court if the move interferes with the other parent’s time.

If a parent with sole custody wants to move out of Ohio with the children, and there is no language in the existing custody order prohibiting or limiting relocation, the burden is on the other parent to file a legal action to have the matter of the relocation considered by the court.

Once the matter is before the court, it will be the burden of the relocating parent to prove the harm to the children caused by the relocation will be outweighed by the benefits of the move and that it is in the best interest of the children. If the parents have shared parenting, a change of custody may not be necessary, but the parenting schedule and other rights and responsibilities may need to be modified to adjust for the logistics resulting from the move.

What Can I Do If My Child’s Other Parent Plans To Relocate?

If you find out that the other parent is planning to relocate with your children, it is important to take legal action as soon as possible. After the children have moved, the legal process of trying to get them back can be very difficult. Once your children are established in a new community, the court may decide it is in their best interests to stay there. If legal action is initiated before the children are moved, the court will usually grant a restraining order to prevent them from being moved until the parties can agree on a change of custody and/or parenting schedule or until the court can hear and decide the case.

If the court does not approve the relocation, child custody can be changed. If a child is allowed to relocate, the parenting time schedule for the parent with visitation can be changed. Child support payments can also be changed to reflect the greater costs of visiting the child.

Schedule A Relocation Consultation With One Of Our Attorneys

To schedule a consultation about relocation with a lawyer at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, call 380-217-3322 or fill out the contact form on this website. Our law office is on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.