There are times when a parent may decide to move out of state after divorce. Even if the custody of your children was not divided evenly, the non-custodial parent can still claim his or her visitation rights. The custodial parent will make most child-related decisions. But what happens if your former spouse decided to move out of state with your children without your consent? Can you stop them? These are questions only an experienced Salt Lake City child custody attorney will be able to answer for you, after taking a closer look at your circumstances.

Visitation time in Utah

Custody is split into physical custody and legal custody in Utah. In some cases, there is also joint custody. Legal custody deals with all the legal matters while physical custody is basically where the child will live. Courts generally prefer joint custody, but it it is not possible in most cases. Even when joint custody is granted, the non-custodial parent can request a certain amount of visitation.

Is it legal for your former spouse to move out with the kids?

Relocations laws only apply to custodial parents who move about 150 miles or more away from the non-custodial parent. So if your former spouse moved less than 150 miles away, that’s not considered relocation. The custodial parent must give at least 60 days advance written a notice to the non-custodial parent. The courts will take a look at a few things when making decisions about relocation but most of all, they will confirm that the relocation meets the child’s best interests.

If the court determines that the relocation will not benefit the children, and the custodial parent relocates anyway, the court may order a change of child custody. There are times when non-custodial parents are granted full custody because the custodial parent defied the court’s order to move out of state. So the law can’t prevent your ex from moving out, but they will make sure your ex-do does not take away your visitation rights. Custodial parents can’t move out without notifying the non-custodial parent. After they give advance notice, the court schedules a hearing and determines if the child’s best interests were taken into consideration.

What can I do if my ex already moved out?

If your ex-moved out with the kids and you have joint custody, you should speak to an experienced Salt Lake City child custody attorney. You may need to go to court and request an order against your former spouse, which means the custody order may be changed. You need to understand your legal rights and have someone familiar with this process guiding your every step of the way. Even if you don’t go to court, the attorney will make sure you get the visitation time you and your children deserve.

If you have any questions about child custody, contact us today and schedule your initial case review with family law attorney Christopher M. Ault. We look forward to hearing from you!