Moving Away if There’s a Child Custody Order – What you Need to Know

April 17, 2016

shutterstock_107478686-thumb-250x286-71316If you have custody of your child and want to move with your child any significant distance away from the other parent, you’ll have to get the court’s permission before you do. These kinds of cases are called “removal” or “relocation” cases.

There’s no guarantee the judge will allow your child to move with you. It takes an experienced attorney to navigate the sometimes murky waters of Nebraska law when it comes to proving to the Judge that moving your child away from the other parent is in his or her best interests.

The family law attorneys at Hightower Reff in Omaha, Nebraska have worked with removal cases for years, and, as with most things, we believe that knowing the process makes things less stressful for clients.

Getting Things Moving

To start your removal case, your lawyer will file a Complaint for Removal and other paperwork with the Clerk of the District Court.

Next your lawyer will have the other parent served with the Complaint or get their signature on a Voluntary Appearance. If the other parent has an attorney, your lawyer will work with their lawyer to get these things accomplished.

After that, the other parent has thirty days to file a written answer to the Complaint.

Speeding it up

Temporary orders allowing removal of the child aren’t allowed under Nebraska law, so instead the law provides for an expedited final hearing to resolve the case and get a final order in place.

Depending on the court’s schedule, your final hearing may happen as soon as two to three months after the other party files their Answer to your complaint. This may not sound fast – but in terms of court time, it is.

Because the final hearing happens so quickly, the trial preparation process – or discovery phase – goes relatively quickly as well.

During this time the lawyers will exchange written requests for information. They may have more hearings with the judge to decide what information both sides are entitled to have or to decide any other issues that come up.

There might be depositions where the attorneys ask questions of witnesses for the opposing sides. During a deposition, witness’ statements are taken under oath by a court reporter with lawyers from both sides and both parties present.

Ideally, you and the opposing party will be able to reach an agreement with the help of your lawyers or a mediator regarding the move and the terms of your new parenting plan for after the move. If not, you will have to have a trial so the judge can decide those issues.

Best Interests 

To prove to the judge at trial that you should be able to move away with your child you have to prove:

  • that you have a legitimate reason for the move
  • that the move is in the child’s best interests

While this sounds simple, there are a lot more variables that the court weighs in its decision. Things like:

  • the impact of the move on the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • the child’s improvement of opportunity and quality of life in the new location, and
  • the child’s living environment

…among other things.

These are all key indicators that help the court determine if the best interests of the child will be served by the move.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

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