After your divorce, a judge awarded you with sole custody in Louisiana. You have the responsibility of determining all aspects of your child’s life including where they go to school and what religion they practice. Due to a job opportunity outside of the state, you want to move your child out of Louisiana.

To move your child legally, you must follow crucial steps. When modifying your child’s residence with the court, it is essential to hire an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that you have met all required elements and provided all necessary documents. Because you have sole custody, you may legally move your child out of state, but you must have the relocation approved by Louisiana court.

Necessary steps to take when moving your child

To obtain approval for relocation, you must follow steps provided by the court.

  1. Notice of relocation: Before filing to move your child, you must notify your spouse and any other family member with awarded visitation. Although you have sole custody, your move may modify their rights to visitation, and the move may alter these rights.
  2. Notice of relocation address: Next, you must give the proposed relocation address to your spouse or family members that have visitation. Because they have rights to your child under law with visitation, they have rights to know your new proposed address.
  3. Burden of proof: To show that you made the decision to move with your child’s life in mind, you must prove that the move is in your child’s best interest.
  4. Authorization: The court will authorize your relocation if you meet all required elements and all parties agree to the move.

Most often, however, a non-custodial parent will disagree with the relocation of your child. He or she will need to object, in court, to the application to move, and the court may prepare for a trial.

Determining factors in contested relocation

During a contested relocation trial, the court keeps your child’s best interest at the forefront of their decisions. To decide if the move is in their best interest, a Louisiana court judge will determine, among other things:

  • The quality of your relationship and the relationship between your child and your ex-spouse
  • Your child’s age and developmental stage
  • Your child’s physical, educational and emotional development
  • The feasibility of fostering a good relationship between your child and your ex-spouse
  • Your child’s feelings toward the move
  • Whether you illegally and purposely try to strain the relationship between your child and your ex-spouse
  • The reasons you seek relocation
  • Any history of criminal activity or abuse

Your child’s life may change drastically due to your move out of Louisiana, so a judge must decide whether a relocation makes sense for your child’s development. If you, with the help of your attorney, prove that the move will exhibit benefits for your child, a judge may grant your relocation application.