There are many steps involved in the process of relocating, from switching over your Internet, utilities, packing, scheduling movers, and more. When you have children from a prior relationship, the process becomes even more complicated, especially if you’re moving a fair distance away. Oklahoma law has several stipulations for such an eventuality. Failing to comply could put you in legal trouble or jeopardize your parental rights, regardless of the reason for the move. That’s why it’s critical to work with Oklahoma child custody attorneys familiar with the specific mandates of places like Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Your attorney can guide you through the process and ensure you are not in violation of your custody agreement at any time.
What Constitutes an Official Relocation?
While any instance of moving to a new home should be disclosed to the other parent, it is legally required when you are officially relocating per Oklahoma law to avoid endangering your custody agreement. According to the state, the move must be at least 75 miles away from your present location to be considered a relocation. Additionally, the new residence should be a permanent residence, herein defined as a place where you intend to live for over 60 days.
What Are You Required to Share With the Other Parent When Relocating?
Regardless of whether you are a custodial or non-custodial parent, if you are officially relocating from your Tulsa or Oklahoma City home, then you are required to disclose certain information to the other parent. This should be done 60 days prior to the date of your move. If, for any reason, you are unable to do so within that time frame, then you should communicate the details no more than ten days after making the decision to move to a new residence.
Failing to notify the other parent in a timely fashion can have legal consequences. In fact, if the child is relocating with you, it could constitute parental kidnapping. Depending on the situation, you may be required to pay hefty fees, and the court might approve changes to your current custody agreement, making the other parent the primary custodial parent or limiting your visitation.
The specifics involved in the notification process may vary from case to case, and your Oklahoma child custody attorney can provide further guidance on your individual situation. The information you’re required to share generally includes the following:
- Your new residential address
- Your new mailing address if it is different
- Your new phone number
- Your move-in / move-out dates
You’re also required to submit written statements, such as a proposal, for a revised visitation schedule that takes into account your new residence. If you are a custodial parent, meaning that the child’s primary residence is with you, then you will also have to include:
- A statement explaining why the child is being relocated
- A notice to the other parent informing them they have 30 days to object to the relocation
What Happens If the Other Parent Objects?
When there is an objection to the relocation, the case goes to court, where a judge will determine whether it can proceed. The purpose of these hearings is to ensure that the move will not prove harmful to the child and will not have an overwhelmingly negative impact on their relationship with the other parent. Working with Oklahoma child custody attorneys will allow you to remain organized and prepared for this eventuality. Lawyers at Stange Law Firm are experienced with these sorts of court cases and can help you create a succinct message that explicitly lists the reasons for the move and explains how it will prove beneficial to your child’s wellbeing.
Common reasons for moving that the court may accept as valid when evaluating such cases include moving to a safer neighborhood in close proximity to other family members, starting a new job that will offer higher pay and benefits, moving to a city that will offer more child-friendly public amenities, and being in a better school district that will offer additional educational opportunities for your child. If all of these apply, that strongly indicates that the relocation will ultimately be in the child’s best interest.
Unfortunately, moving is often a little more complicated, and you might find yourself making some compromises with your new residence. Perhaps the new job you’re planning to take on will force you to work substantially longer hours than your previous position, resulting in very little time spent with your child. Despite the higher pay, the new job could be seen as a negative instead of a positive in regard to the child’s wellbeing.
To successfully navigate the intricacies and complexity of such cases, it’s critical to have an Oklahoma child custody attorney present a solid case that leaves no room for questions about the move’s suitability. Even before becoming involved in a court case, when you’re just starting to consider relocating, your Stange Law lawyer can go over the legal requirements and ensure everything you do is in compliance with Oklahoma Law. To ask questions or schedule your first consultation, contact Stange Law by filling out our online form, or call us at 855-805-0595.