Nevada custodial parents who wish to relocate out of the state with their child must obtain permission from the noncustodial parent or the court.
For many people, family ties, new job opportunities or the desire to make a new start can lead them to relocate outside of Nevada. This can be especially true following a divorce. When child custody has been established by court order, however, it is not always as simple as packing up and moving. Under NRS 125C.200, parents with custody arrangements must generally have permission in order to move out of the state with their child.
Obtaining written consent
According to state law, one way for custodial parents to acquire permission to relocate is through written consent from the noncustodial parents. This is perhaps the easiest way to get permission for relocation as it generally allows parents to bypass court proceedings. In these cases, the law stipulates that custodial parents must get written consent prior to moving. Furthermore, they are required to do so as soon as possible in advance of their planned move.
Court permission in sole custody cases
If noncustodial parents refuse to give consent for relocation, it does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a move. In these cases, parents with sole custody may petition the court for permission. Court proceedings are then generally held in order to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests.
To make this determination when parents have sole custody, the family law courts consider a number of factors. Among these factors is how the move will improve the child and custodial parent's quality of life. The custodial parents' motives, and whether the move is aimed at disrupting the child and noncustodial parent's relationship, are also examined. Additionally, the noncustodial parents' reasoning for denying their consent is considered. The court will also examine how the move will impact the visitation schedule and relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent.
Court permission in joint custody cases
Parents who share joint custody may also seek to relocate with their child. In these cases, they must petition the court for a custody modification. Family law courts will then consider the factors established in NRS 125.480. These include the following:
- Each parent's physical and mental health
- The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any siblings and the noncustodial parent
- The child's developmental, emotional and physical needs
- The parents' level of conflict and their ability to work together to meet the child's needs
- Any history of domestic violence, or abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling
- The child's current relationship with each parent
Depending on the child's age, his or her wishes may also be taken into consideration. In examining these factors, it is the goal of family law courts to ascertain what is in the child's best interest. Based on their determinations, a child will either be allowed to relocate with one parent, or required to remain in Nevada with the other.
Obtaining legal representation
The process for obtaining permission to relocate outside of Nevada following a divorce can be complicated. Failing to acquire the appropriate consent can have serious implications for parents, and their future child custody arrangements. As such, it may be of benefit for those who are seeking to move out of the state to seek legal counsel and representation. Working with an attorney may help parents to look out for the best interests of their children, and ensure their parental rights are upheld.