Child Custody & State Lines in Indiana

By Heather Frances J.D.

Your divorce court distributed custody of your children based on your family’s circumstances at the time of your divorce, but circumstances often change after divorce. If you are the custodial parent and plan to relocate, Indiana law, which changed in 2006, requires you to provide notice to your ex-spouse so he has an opportunity to object to the move.

Your divorce court distributed custody of your children based on your family’s circumstances at the time of your divorce, but circumstances often change after divorce. If you are the custodial parent and plan to relocate, Indiana law, which changed in 2006, requires you to provide notice to your ex-spouse so he has an opportunity to object to the move.

Relocation

Under Indiana’s current laws, it doesn’t matter how far you are moving or whether you are crossing state lines. You could be moving across the street or to the other side of the country, the same laws and rules apply to your move. If you, as the custodial parent, intend to leave your present home and relocate with the children, you must follow the relocation rules set forth in Indiana Code, Title 31, Article 17, Chapter 2.2.

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Notice of Intent

As a relocating parent, you must file a notice of intent to move with the Indiana court that issued your most recent custody order, or a court that has jurisdiction over your child, and you must serve a copy of the notice on your ex-spouse, alerting him to the intended move. You must do this at least 90 days before the move. Your notice must include information such as the address of the new residence, your new telephone number, date you intend to move, statement of reasons for the relocation and proposed new schedule for parenting time.

Objections

Your ex-spouse, as the noncustodial parent, has the right to object to your move. To do so, he must file a motion with the court seeking a temporary or permanent order preventing you from moving your child. If he files such a motion, and either of you requests a court hearing, the court must hold a hearing to receive evidence before issuing a decision. You, as the relocating parent, have the burden of proving to the court that your relocation is being made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. Then, your ex-spouse has the burden of proving to the court that your move is not in the best interests of your child.

Permission to Move

Indiana courts use a variety of factors to determine what is in the best interests of a child, including the distance of the move, any increased hardship or traveling expenses your move would cause for your ex-spouse, whether your child and ex-spouse can still maintain a relationship and the reasons for your move. Ultimately, you must be able to show the court that the move is in your child’s best interests. If the court feels disclosing information about your relocation to your ex-spouse during this process might endanger you or your child, the court can order certain information kept secret.

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The Tennessee Joint Custody Relocation Statute

References

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