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Relocation from North Carolina to Another State: Ramirez-Barker v. Barker

When parents decide to split up, it can be extremely difficult for the child to adjust to the change. When a parent decides to move to another state, the change can be even harder to deal with. At the Woodruff Family Law Group, our skilled North Carolina child custody attorneys understand the nuances of family law and can help you determine your legal rights and options.

In North Carolina, parents are free to decide on any custody arrangement they see fit. Child custody lawyers usually work with parents to create a routine for the children that works well for all parties involved. However, if parents are seen as unable to decide the custody or visitation arrangement, a judge will make that determination. North Carolina law requires judges to decide child custody matters using the “best interest of the child” standard.

If a parent needs to move to another state for a new job, new relationship, or other needs, a whole new custody agreement will need to be created. If you have an existing custody order in place, relocation out of the state can be a violation of that order, subjecting you to potential court-imposed sanctions, including contempt, an order to return the child, and possibly paying costs or attorneys fees. As a result, you would need to seek a modification of that order before relocating, and any changes that are made to the existing child custody agreement are required to be accepted by both parents.

In Ramirez-Barker v. Barker, one parent wanted to move out of North Carolina to California. After hearing the evidence, including testimony from the parents and a psychologist, the judge ruled that moving to California was not in the “best interest” of the child. Furthermore, the court set out the criteria that should be used when deciding issues of custody involving a parent moving out of state:

  • The benefits of moving based on the move’s ability to create a better life for the child. Essentially, whether or not the move is in the best interest of the child.
  • The reasons for the custodial parent’s move (i.e., will the custodial parent be able to maintain a visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent after moving out of the state of North Carolina?).
  • The reasons the noncustodial parent is resisting the relocation (i.e., the likelihood that a realistic visitation schedule can be possible, which will help maintain the relationships with both custodial and non-custodial parents).

Parents cannot stop each other from relocating, although there are some guidelines and precautions that need to be taken into account before a parent thinks about relocating.

Any time one parent decides to move out of state, the question of custody can quickly become complicated. At the Woodruff Family Law Group, our hard-working North Carolina child custody lawyers understand how stressful child custody disputes can be, which is why we are committed to handling your case with the utmost compassion. You can rest assured that we will thoroughly examine the facts of your case and determine all your legal rights and options. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 336-272-9122.

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