After divorce, a parent may move out of state with their child. Here’s what to know about child relocation laws in North Carolina.

A custodial parent looking to relocate with their child to another state must file a court order. The noncustodial parent must agree to the move and ensure visitation rights. The court will approve or deny the relocation request based on each parent’s reasoning and the child’s best interest.

North Carolina Custody Laws

In North Carolina, the court will provide divorced parents with a court order determining where the child should live. Custody orders are permanent unless a substantial difference in the child’s best interest occurs. North Carolina recognizes two custody types.

Legal custody grants parents the right to make major life decisions for the child. The court may give parents equal legal custody. The court may name the custodial parent if they are more present in the child’s life. The custodial parent will have a greater say in decisions about the child’s life.

Physical custody determines the time the child spends living with each parent. Courts may grant parents joint physical custody. The child will spend the same amount of time living at each parent’s home if the parents have joint physical custody. The court may decide whether a custodial parent has complete physical custody, and the other parent is noncustodial. The child will spend 100% of the time living with the custodial parent. The custodial parent may choose where to live with the child, but the noncustodial parent may not have a say.

Related: Child Custody Laws in North Carolina

Moving Out of North Carolina with Child Custody Agreement

A custodial parent looking to relocate with their child out of North Carolina must file an order to the state court. If the noncustodial parent disapproves, a custodial parent may not move away with the child. A custodial parent wishing to move out of state away from the noncustodial parent should hire an attorney to support the relocation.

A custodial parent may not need a court order or permission from the noncustodial parent if the new home is geographically close to the original residence. The original court order can set specific outlines, including how far the custodial parent may move with the child without permission.

Relocation Laws in North Carolina

A custodial parent’s relocation with the child may impact the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. The noncustodial parent may contest the move because it could negatively affect the parent-child relationship and conflict with the original court order. The noncustodial parent may not have a say if they have a history of abuse or neglect toward the child. The court can approve or deny the relocation request based on both parents’ requests.

The custodial parent seeking relocation to another state must file a court order and include their relocation reasons.

The court will use the following factors to approve or deny the relocation request:

  • How the relocation will improve the child’s life
  • If the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights will change
  • If the move is in good faith
  • The likelihood the custodial parent will maintain visitation orders

The court may approve the relocation request if the custodial parent proves the move is in the child’s best interest and will not harm the noncustodial’s pre-existing relationship with the child.

Related: Grandparent Custody Rights in North Carolina

FAQs About Child Relocation Laws in North Carolina

Do I have to tell the noncustodial parent where I move with my child?

If a noncustodial parent has visitation rights and a relationship with the child, they must approve the relocation. The court can withhold the new address from the noncustodial parent if they threaten the custodial parent’s or the child’s safety.

What if the child wants to live with the noncustodial parent?

In North Carolina, a child may choose where to live when they turn 18. Before the child turns 18, the court will decide where the child will live based on the child’s best interest and each parent’s ability to support the child.

What if the noncustodial parent follows me to another state?

The noncustodial parent may move to the same state as the custodial parent and child to maintain visitation and a stable parent-child relationship. The court can prevent the move if the noncustodial parent follows the custodial parent and child to another state with violent intentions.

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about child relocation in North Carolina, get your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys today!