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Relocating Your Child – Do you Need his Consent?

So you are relocating next month and want to take your child with you? Even if there is no custody judgment in place, Louisiana law says “not so fast”. There are notice requirements if relocating:

  • Takes your child out of state.
  • Keeps your child in Louisiana but moves him or her more than 75 miles away from her principal residence.

In these situations, you must give notice to:

  • Any person “recognized as a parent” and
  • Any other person awarded custody or visitation.

You must send this notice by registered or certified mail (return receipt requested) or by commercial courier sixty days before relocating. Your notice must include:

  • Your current mailing address.
  • The new mailing address.
  • The new physical address.
  • Your new home and cellular phone numbers.
  • The date you plan to move.
  • The reasons for your move.
  • Your proposed revised schedule of physical custody or visitation with the child.

It must say that the other person only has 30 days to send an objection by registered or certified mail (return receipt requested). It must tell him to seek legal advice immediately.

If the other person does not object, you can move. If the other person does object, then a judge must approve your child’s relocation.

However, if the other person has “equal physical custody” of your child, he does not need to object . Unless he gives you express written consent, a judge must approve your plan to relocate before you move.

If you have to go to court, the judge will want to know two things:

  • Did you make your decision to move in good faith?
  • Is your move in your child’s best interest?

The judge will want you to answer questions like these:

  • How close is your child’s relationship with the other person?
  • How far away does the move take the child?
  • Will relocating adversely affect the child’s ability to see the other person?
  • Will the benefit to your child outweigh the damage to the child’s relationship with the other person?

As soon as you think a move is in your future, consult with a family lawyer. The lawyer can help you prepare your notice and your evidence.

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