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How does Indiana handle custody cases if parents move away?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2023 | Child Custody |

Sharing custody of minor children means coordinating schedules and communicating with a child’s other parent about their needs. Maintaining a certain degree of proximity is also usually very important for Indiana co-parents. After all, frequent custody exchanges require travel between the households, so the greater the distance, the more inconvenient exchanges become.

At some point, it may no longer be realistic to expect parents to continue exchanging custody multiple times a week/month because of the travel requirements if they live too far apart from each other. As a result, those who share custody in Indiana may understandably worry about whether they or their co-parent can/cannot move away while shared custody arrangements remain in place.

What rules does Indiana have for parental relocation cases?

Advance notice is typically mandatory

Both the parent who has the children more of the time and the children’s other parent will need to communicate with each other and the courts if they have begun planning a relocation. Generally, any residential move of more than 20 miles from the current location requires pre-approval from the other parent and/or the Indiana family courts.

Parents typically need to provide at least 30 days of advance notice. If both parents agree on the move, then the courts will likely grant a simple uncontested modification that updates the custody order to reflect the current address of the parents and any changes to the division of parenting time. It is common for parents to disagree about the necessity of a move or how it should affect their custody arrangements. When disagreements arise, both parents will have an opportunity to present their side of the situation at a modification hearing. A family law judge can then make the final decision based on what they believe would be in the best interests of the children.

Parents shouldn’t let a shared custody arrangement prevent them from moving on with their lives, but they also need to know about the restrictions on relocations and other big changes so that they remain compliant with Indiana law.