A final divorce decree is often a bittersweet moment. It is bitter in the sense that it legally ends a marriage, and for many couples, it is sweet in that the difficult decisions, anxieties, and emotions of the divorce process are over. The parties are free to move on with their lives.
For some divorcees, that means moving out of state to be closer to family, a new job, or to start a new adventure. If you’re planning on relocating to another state after your divorce, make sure you start out on the right path.
Once your divorce is legally granted, you should expect your divorce to be respected in every state in the nation. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution requires each state to respect other states’ judicial proceedings. Since a divorce is a judicial proceeding, it is recognized nationwide. In the eyes of the law, you are a single person, and you are free to date or remarry in every state.
If your divorce decree creates continuing obligations between you and your ex-spouse, you need to let your spouse know about your move. For example, if you are receiving or providing alimony or child support, your ex-spouse should be able to locate you.
If you are a parent, the procedures for moving to a new state might be more complicated since your move will affect not only you but also your children and your ex-spouse. Generally, you can only move a child out of state with the other parent or court’s permission.
If the other parent does not agree to the move, the court will weigh whether the move is in the child’s best interest. In making its decision, the court will also consider the child’s relationship with:
The court does not disregard a parent’s interests in moving out of state, but it does consider your interests in how they affect the child’s best interests.
For example, if a parent wants to move for a better job, the increase in income may be in the child’s best interest, and that would be weighed against the child’s other relationships.
If a parent needs medical care that is only accessible in another state, the court may find it in the child’s best interest to keep the child with the parent while during recovery from their illness or injury. Each case is decided on an individual basis.
Sometimes the best thing to do after a divorce is to move on. If moving on includes a move out of state, it is crucial that you do it legally so that both parents and the children can truly move forward.