New Orleans Child Relocation Lawyers
Protecting your rights when a parent wants to relocate from New Orleans
Many parents do not understand the laws regarding moving with a child to another state or, in some cases, even to a location as little as 75 miles away. When child relocation disputes are an issue, there is a legal process that must be followed, and the court must grant permission for the parent to move with the child. Many factors come into play including the child’s age, the child’s relationship with the nonrelocating parent, the child’s preference and best interest, and the need for the parent’s relocation, among several more.
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans child custody lawyers can help. If you need to relocate with your child, we’ll help you obtain court approval for the relocation. If you object to the other parent moving with your child, we’ll fight to contest the move or to obtain the protections you and your child need to feel secure. If you are thinking of moving with your child (or contesting a move), you should always get the opinion of an experienced family law attorney. Call us in New Orleans to get started.
How can we help?
- What does it mean to relocate a child’s principal residence?
- Who can request a child relocation order in New Orleans?
- How do I give notice to the other parent or any other interested parties?
- What happens if the other parent does not consent to the relocation?
- What factors will the Judge review if the relocation is contested?
- Do you have a child relocation lawyer near me?
What does it mean to relocate a child’s principal residence?
The “principal residence of a child” is where your child primarily resides – with you, or with your coparent. “Relocation” is defined as “a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of sixty days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence.”
Once a child custody order is entered in Louisiana, the court keeps jurisdiction over any changes to the order for as long as your child is a minor. This jurisdiction includes the authority to approve, deny, or condition any requests of the person with domiciliary custody to move to another state or even another country.
Who can request a child relocation order in New Orleans?
The people who can seek to relocate the principal place of residence of a child include:
- A person designated in a current court decree as the sole custodian.
- A person designated in a current court decree as a domiciliary parent in a joint custody arrangement.
- A person sharing equal physical custody under a current court decree.
- A person sharing equal parental authority under Chapter 5 of Title VII of Book I of the Louisiana Civil Code.
- A person who is the natural tutor of a child born outside of marriage.
Our New Orleans child relocation lawyers prepare and review the notice requirement that the parent seeking to relocate must make.
The notice must inform any person “recognized as a parent and any other person awarded custody or visitation under a court decree as required by [Louisiana law].”
If more than one person has “equal physical custody of a child under a court decree,” the person seeking to relocate must either:
- Obtain court authorization to relocate, after a contradictory hearing
- Obtain the “express written consent of the other person.”
Can I relocate if I’m not the primary domiciliary parent?
If you are NOT the primary domiciliary parent, meaning that your child lives with your coparent most of the time and you have visitation, you can absolutely move. There is no statute that is triggered by you moving away.
However, moving farther away or even out of state can affect your child custody order. If you live in New Orleans and want to move for a new job, and you see your child on weekends and during holiday breaks, that move likely won’t affect the plan. But if you move more than 300 miles away to Shreveport, the custody plan you have is not going to work – and any expenses you in incur trying to make it work will be yours alone. You can also be found in contempt for missing visitation, which can have additional penalties including fines or even jail time.
You will need to go through the courts to modify your child custody order. Furthermore, if you moving means your coparent now bears a greater share of the expenses to raise your child, he or she will most likely request additional child support, too.
How do I give notice to the other parent or any other interested parties?
Generally, the notice must be sent by registered or certified mail to the other parent/person’s last known address – no later than the 60th day before the proposed relocation. A shorter time frame may be permissible if the person seeking the relocation couldn’t reasonably have provided the information within the 60 days and the time for relocation (such as because the petitioner has a new and better job) cannot be extended.
The notice should contain the following information:
- The current mailing address of the person proposing relocation.
- The intended new residence, including the specific physical address, if known.
- The intended new mailing address.
- The home and cellular telephone numbers of the person proposing the relocation, if [or when] known.
- The date of the proposed relocation.
- A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of a child.
- A proposal for a revised schedule of physical custody or visitation with the child.
- A statement that the person entitled to object shall make any objection to the proposed relocation in writing by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, within thirty days of receipt of the notice, and should seek legal advice immediately.
What happens if the other parent does not consent to the relocation?
Any objection to the move should be made in a timely manner – within 30 days from the receipt of the moving parent’s notice – in writing and mailed by certified or registered letter. The objection can also be delivered by courier.
If the parents or parties to the move agree to the relocation, then our child custody lawyers help negotiate a new visitation schedule. For example, if the move is too far to travel by car, then arrangements for flying the child from one parent to another should be reviewed. Normally, because of the distance, the visitation may provide for summer with the parent staying in Southeast Louisiana and several longer holiday or vacation stays instead of weekend schedules.
What factors will the Judge review if the relocation is contested?
Some of the factors the Judge will review regarding granting or denying the relocation request include:
- “The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the relationship of the child with the person proposing relocation and with the non-relocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life.”
- “The age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child's physical, educational, and emotional development.”
- How practical it will be for the non-relocating parent to preserve their family relationship (through a change in the custody/visitation arrangement) given logistics, financial, and other issues?
- The child’s views on the move, factoring in his/her age and maturity.
- How the relocation will affect the child’s general quality of life.
- The reasons for and opposed to the relocation.
- The employment status of the parents/parties.
- Whether the person objecting has met his/her other marital/child obligations including child support, spousal support, the property division, and “alimentary obligations.”
- Whether the objecting person could also relocate.
- “Any history of substance abuse, harassment, or violence by either the person seeking or the person opposing relocation.”
- Any other factors affecting the best interest of the child.
There are other considerations our New Orleans child relocation lawyers will review such as the rights of non-parents who have custody or visitation, obtaining a temporary order, and other issues.
Do you have a child relocation lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham is located in New Orleans and serves all of South Louisiana.
For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.
Speak with our trusted New Orleans child relocation lawyers before the move takes place
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we have a strong reputation in the community. We understand why parents may need to move, and why the noncustodial parents may object to the move. Some moves are for valid reasons such as a new job, a new marriage, or to take care of an older parent. Moving just to change the terms of the custody order or agreement is usually not valid. Our New Orleans child relocation lawyers work to protect the best interests of the child and your best interests when changing the child’s principal location is an issue. To discuss your rights, please call us or fill out our contact form. We represent parents in New Orleans and throughout the state.