Can I move out of state if I have physical custody and joint legal custody of my 15 year old?

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Can I move out of state if I have physical custody and joint legal custody of my 15 year old?

Her father is not involved in her daily life and she sees him about once a month. My daughter and I want to move to another state. The custody order is through a different state that the one in which we currently live. If her dad refuses to let us move, would we have to go back to court there? He also thinks that becasue he will see her less, he should pay less support.

Asked on November 2, 2012 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even though many people think that the two are related, child support and visitation are two different issues.  Support is for the child, regardless of how much time the parent choses to spend with the child.  So as to your question about less visitation equals less child support--- the answer is no, child support will not be lowered because of fewer visits.  The amount of child support is set by income of the non-custodial parent and the needs of the child.  The child's time is not for sale by the hour or day.

Your second question is regarding movement.  Your court orders will control your ability to move.  If the orders grant you the exclusive right to determine the residence of the child and it places no restrictions on that right, then you can move with your daughter without your ex's permission.  Occassionally courts will place geographic restrictions on parents by county or by state.  If your order does contain a limitation or a restriction, then you would need to go back to the court that issued the order and have the provision lifted.  If you violate the court's orders without the court's authorization, then you could be subject to a contempt action.  The key here is that you need the court's permission, not your ex's. 

If you are not sure what your orders mean, arrange for a short consulation to let a family law attorney go over your paperwork.  A quick review and meeting shouldn't take more than an hour-- which is roughly $100-200.  This really is a nominal fee for peace of mind about what you can and cannot do.


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