After child custody has been established and a divorce has been finalized, parents and children can try to find some downtime to settle in and adjust to their new living situations. This is true in both joint custody and sole custody cases. But no matter how thorough a child custody and visitation schedule may be, it is difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate the complexities that will arise if one parent needs to relocate.
Oklahoma’s Relocation Legal Statute
If a parent with child custody rights intends to move more than 75 miles away from their ex-spouse who also has child custody rights, Oklahoma family law states that they must give that other parent at least 60 days of prior notice. In some events, it will be necessary to suddenly relocate due to an emergency or to maintain gainful employment, and only 10 days’ notice is necessary. In any case, the parent that is moving away must supply the parent that is not moving with critical information.
The non-moving parent has the right to know the moving parent’s:
- New living address
- Phone number
- Best way and time to contact them
- Exact date of the move
- Why the move is happening
The moving parent should also draft a new or modified custody agreement or visitation schedule, and supply it along with the rest of the information. Failing to provide this information can work against the moving parent in any legal cases, disputes, or hearings that may follow.
What Can the Non-Moving Parent Do?
If you have been informed by your ex-spouse that they intend to move away with your child in tow, you have a limited time to take action and stop it, if that is your choosing. You can file for a custody proceeding with the appropriate family law court to contest your ex-spouse’s proposed relocation and custody plan for up to 30 days after you were informed of the move. At that point, matters will come down to who can show the court that their argument will result in a situation that is better for the child’s wellbeing. You can choose not to take any action and the court’s favor will unofficially default to the benefit of the moving parent.
If you have discovered that your ex-spouse has already moved away and did not properly notify you, follow the same process of getting a custody hearing. Only, in this situation, the court may order the return of your child to you, remove the child custody rights of the moving parent, and also order them to pay your attorney and court fees.
For legal guidance pertaining to child custody and relocation cases, you can turn to Mazaheri Law Firm. Our Oklahoma City family lawyers can help you create a solid argument as to why you should be permitted to move away with your child, or why your ex-spouse should not. Put nearly 20 years of legal experience in your corner by retaining our services – contact us today.