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Child Custody Across States

Navigating custody agreements and deciding which one is best for you family is a complex process. The process gets even more complex when two parents live in different states and can often cause issues to come up that aren’t normally an issue when living in the same state.

How Does Interstate Custody Work?

One complication that comes along with an interstate custody arrangement is deciding which state handles the case. This decision is based on a few things:

  • If there are existing court orders
  • Where the child currently lives
  • Where the child lived before

If there is no custody or visitation order, the state where the child has lived for the past six months is the court that resolves the case. However, if a child is less than six months old, the state where the child was born handles the case. This is referred to as their “home state.” If the child in question has not lived in a state since their birth or for the past six months, they do not have a home state. In this case, a state’s court can take jurisdiction if the following statements are true:

  • The child has previously lived in or currently lives in the state;
  • At least one parent is currently living in the state; and
  • The state has significant connections to the child.

Can I Move Out of State with an Existing Custody Order?

It depends on your parenting plan. Custody disputes that involve one parent attempting to move away can be extremely complex, so having an experienced attorney by your side is crucial. If both parents agree to the move, a new arrangement will be drafted, or their existing plan will need to be modified. The parents must sign a written agreement, called a stipulation and consent agreement, which then becomes a court order after being approved by a judge.

Legal Factors Considered During Move-Away Disputes

 There are several factors courts will consider when handling a move-away dispute in a child custody agreement.

  • Job opportunity or increased income for custodial parent
  • Closer proximity to custodial parent’s extended family, who can help with childcare and support
  • Educational opportunity
  • New marriage

Each state will have its own set of legal factors when considering move-away disputes. If you are a parent dealing with an interstate custody agreement,  get in touch with Brown Dutton & Crider Law Firm today to learn your options and come up with a strategy that will allow you to keep your child’s best interest in mind. Call today at (770) 422-4241 or email