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Relocating with a child and child custody

In some cases, a custodial parent in Alaska may wish to relocate with their child some time after a child custody and visitation order has been issued by the court. Even if the parent who wishes to move has primary residential custody, moving without first receiving permission to do so may put the relocating parent in danger of contempt proceedings for violating the other parent's visitation order.

Child custody and visitation orders are legally enforceable orders of the court. Even if a person has been asked to move for work or wishes to move a fair distance for another reason, it is important to first try to obtain the other parent's consent. If the other parent agrees to the move, the court would then need to be notified through a stipulated motion to relocate with the child.

In situations in which the other parent does not agree, a parent who wishes to relocate may file a motion with the court. The moving parent will then need to have a copy of their motion served on the other parent who will also receive a court date and a summons to respond to the motion. The other parent may object to a change in his or her visitation schedule. The court, after taking evidence from both sides, will issue its decision regarding the proposed relocation and changes in visitation schedules through the standard of what is in the child's best interests. In some cases, the court may not allow the parent to relocate with the child.

Courts generally want a child to have access to both parents and to remain in an environment in which they feel stable. Parents who wish to relocate to a place that is fairly distant may benefit by seeking the help of a family law attorney in filing the motion.

Source: Findlaw, "Child custody Relocation Laws", December 02, 2014

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