One of the best-kept secrets in family law is the Notice of Intent to Relocate. It should not be a secret, though. Anyone who is subject to a court order granting them custody or parenting time for a child should make sure they are familiar with the laws surrounding this topic. Please note, nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice, and you should consult a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about this matter.
Indiana law defines a relocating individual as anyone “who has or is seeking: (1) custody of a child; or (2) parenting time with a child; and intends to move the individual’s principal residence.” The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, which are often adopted in paternity cases or divorce cases involving children, explain just how broadly encompassing this matter is. It even applies “when a person plans to move across the street or across town.”
If you are a relocating individual, you must file a notice with the court. Additionally, you have to send notice to each non-relocating individual by registered or certified mail, at least ninety days before you intend to move. In this notice, you are required by statute to provide your new address, any telephone numbers you may have, the date of your intended move, a statement of the specific reasons for your move, a proposal for a revised parenting time or grandparent visitation schedule, and a statement regarding the rights and deadlines of the other parent or non-relocating individual.
These notices are important not only because they are required by law, but they can save you time and trouble down the road. Imagine you got a job in another state. You found the perfect house or apartment, signed a mortgage or a lease, and are getting ready to pack your moving van with all your belongings. The mail arrives, and in it you find that the other parent of your child has filed an objection to your relocation with the court.
If the court finds that your relocation constitutes sufficient grounds to grant custody to the other parent, now you have to decide whether to cancel your move and deal with the financial repercussions, and you have a new legal fight ahead of you to try to regain custody of your child. However, if you file your Notice of Intent to Relocate within the statutorily-required timeframe, you can resolve the custody issue before making major financial commitments.
Whether you are planning to move or you have received notice that the other parent of your child intends to move, you should talk to a lawyer about your rights and responsibilities.
Peter Inman is a local attorney with Bolinger Law Firm.