MES MILLER, EARLE & SHANKS, PLLC Attorneys and Counsellors at Law
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What if you want to move away after your divorce?

Among the more difficult aspects of a divorce is moving on from the memories of your relationship with your ex-spouse. Oftentimes, doing so may prompt you to want to move away from Harrisonburg. There are may be scenarios where you are asked to relocate as a condition of your employment. Whatever your reasons for wanting to move, actually doing so can be difficult given your custodial situation. You moving away can impact both yours and your ex-spouse's relationship with your kids. Thus, family courts take the issue of parental relocation very seriously. 

According to Section 20-124.5 of the Code of Virginia, you are required to provide both the court and your ex-spouse with notification of your intent to move at least 30 days prior to your proposed relocation. The only exception to this would be special cases where the court deems such notice to be unreasonable (such as cases of abuse where you and/or your children are being victimized by your ex-spouse). If the move is significant enough to make your current custody arrangement unmanageable, the court will likely order a hearing to modify it. 

When you are the one seeking to relocate, the burden typically falls to you to show the court why the relocation would be in your kids' best interest. Even if they agree with your reasons, they will likely call for some sort of modification that eases the burden on your ex-spouse in maintaining contact with the children. You can have a say in any modification by working with your ex-spouse on your own to come up with a revised agreement that is acceptable to you both. In such a scenario, the court make look to reward your efforts to collaborate by agreeing with your new terms. 

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