Your employer is transferring you out of state: now what?

Things have been going quite well since your divorce. You have residential custody of your children, and your former spouse is reasonably happy with the custody arrangement and his or her parenting time. Your children, too, seem to have adjusted well to their new family lifestyle. Now all of a sudden your employer tells you that you are being promoted and transferred to the company’s office in another state. What do you do now?

As a divorced Kentucky parent, there are certain things you must do in order to be able to relocate legally. The first is to contact your children’s other parent in writing to notify him or her of your upcoming move.

Your notice letter

Kentucky courts normally require that you send your notice 30 days prior to your move if your former spouse has joint custody of your children with you. However, it is a good idea to mail it as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time to deal with any complications that may arise. Be sure to sign the letter before mailing it Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested so you have proof of when you mailed it and when your former spouse received it. You also should file a copy of your signed notice letter with the court that granted your custody order.

The letter needs to contain the following information:

  • The date you are writing it
  • Complete information about your divorce: case number; court and county in which it was granted; full names of you and your former spouse
  • The reasons why you are moving; i.e., your promotion and transfer
  • An offer to work out a new visitation schedule with your former spouse so that he or she can continue to have meaningful contact with your children

The new visitation agreement

Once you know that your former spouse has received your notice, you should make every effort to contact him or her by phone, text, email, etc. to work out a new mutually agreeable visitation schedule. Depending on how far away you will be living, you may wish to consider making concessions as to your children’s summer vacation and how much of it they can spend with him or her. You may likewise wish to consider with whom your children can spend their winter and spring breaks.

Try to be as cooperative as possible with your children’s other parent. The goal is for the two of you to arrive at a new visitation schedule that you both can agree to, sign and file with the court. With such an agreement in place, the judge will in all likelihood give you permission to relocate.

If no agreement is possible

If you and your former spouse cannot agree about your relocation and its effects on his or her ability to continue being a major part of your children’s lives, you will need to go to court and let the judge resolve these issues. You may wish to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney before your court hearing.

Ultimately the judge will be concerned about whether or not your relocation is in the best interests of your children. He or she will listen to all relevant evidence, including the following:

  • The reasons why you are moving
  • How far away you will be living
  • How difficult your move will make it for your children’s other parent to have a continuing relationship with them
  • The extent to which you have supported your children’s contact with their other parent since your divorce
  • The reasons why your former spouse objects to your move

You can ask the judge if he or she will talk to your children in private so they can express their wishes regarding your move. He or she may agree to do this, particularly if they are teenagers. Be aware, however, that although your attorney and your former spouse’s attorney, if he or she has one, can be in the judge’s chambers during this discussion, neither you nor he are allowed to be there.