What if your ex-spouse wants to move with the kids?

It is perfectly natural for you and your ex-spouse to want to move on after your divorce. Yet if part of them moving on includes moving away from Alexandria, that could no doubt impact your relationship with your children. If they have sole custody and your only have visitation rights, them moving could potentially limit the already limited access you have to your kids. Even if you share custody, a relocation could place a hardship on you when it comes to custody exchanges. What rights, then, in mitigating the impact of your ex-spouse moving away with your kids?

First and foremost, you should know that they cannot simply move away and inform you after the fact. Per Section 20-124.5 of the Code of Virginia, they must provide both you and court with notice of their intentions at least 30 days prior to the proposed move. If they do not provide such notice, the court could find them in contempt and require them to cover the cost of any legal action required to get your kids back. 

When you receive notice of your ex-spouse's intention to move, you can challenge it. Keep in mind that you are not challenging their right to move; rather, you are simply challenging their right to do so without modifying your custody agreement. The court will typically order such a modification if it believes the relocation does not address your kids' best interests and/or it places a financial burden on you to maintain your current custody schedule. 

A better way to deal with a potential relocation in to maintain good communication with your ex-spouse. If they feel comfortable informing you of their intention to move well in advance, the two of you can modify your custody plan on your own to come up with a mutually beneficial agreement. 

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Russell W. Ray, PLLC
6212-A Old Franconia Road
Alexandria, VA 22310

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