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How do I move out of state with my child when I have joint custody with my ex?

Bronx, NY |

My son is 2 years old and lives with me Mon-Fri and his is mother has him from Fri to Mon. We have joint custody of him and we live in NY. I am planning to move to North Carolina next year and I want to take my son with me but I am not sure his mother would agree to it. Right now I support him fully and do not receive child support from her. I am looking to buy a house in the suburbs and she lives in a not so nice neighborhood. How can I move out of state with him legally?

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Attorney answers 5


This will be difficult, if not impossible, to do without the mother's consent. The standard for allowing a parent to relocate with a child is very high. You should consult with a local attorney, but you basically would need to show that the move is necessary and in the best interests of the child, and that your need to move is more important than the child's and mother's right to regular contact.


If the mother will not consent to the move in writing, then you will have to file a petition in court requesting a relocation. You can file in Supreme or Family Court. These types of cases are very complicated and you will need to hire an attorney. If you plan of moving within the next year, then I suggest you get started now with your application. Don't make the mistake of waiting until the last minute, you will be very disappointed to learn that the Court moves at their own speed, not yours.

The opinion herein does not constitute legal representation in any way or establish an attorney-client relatioship.


As a New York Family Law attorney, I have answered this type of question many times. Of course, the first step is to seek to negotiate agreement. Sometimes it is necessary to start a court proceeding to help motivate the parties to reach agreement on the issue. The factors that the court will consider vary widely but essentially boil down to a balance of interests, with the best interests of the child(ren) being paramount. It is very important to success that there is a workable plan for the child(ren) and the other parent to have regular, meaningful contact and that all steps are taken to preserve a good relationship between each parent and the child(ren). A good attorney can help you navigate this issue with as little financial and emotional costs as possible. I suggest you immediately start trying to find an attorney who you feel comfortable working with. You can find attorney's contact information here on Avvo. Good luck!

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


Relocation is a complex case & thus if you are serious about doing so, you need to plan a strategy now. If the non-custodial parent is not paying child support, then she should be. You'll need to file for same and press the issue on add-on expenses as well. Moreover, your reasons for the move are critical. For instance, are you moving because your job is being transferred, or just for a "fresh start?" Your case is tougher if the latter as opposed to the former. In any event, for a free initial consultation with a Family Law attorney, please feel free to follow-up with my Bronx office at 718-725-9600.


Relocation in New York is a complicated issue. Agreement in writing by the non-custodial party is the less complicated solution. However, you may file a petition to relocate with family court and the court will consider many factors. There will be great emphasis on how the move will affect the relationship between the child and the non-custodial party. If the mother sees the child every Fri-Mon, the time spent between the mother and child will significantly decrease if the child relocates to North Carolina.

The above response is for educational purposes only. No client-attorney relationship has been established or agreed upon. Call 347.901.4897 to further discuss this issue and possible retainment.

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