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Does shared custody limit your right to move to a new home?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2023 | Child Custody

It is standard practice for parents in Iowa to share custody when they divorce or separate. Those shared custody obligations place limitations on your life that you would not have otherwise. For example, how you plan your daily schedule must align with your custody order, or you need special permission from your co-parent to make changes.

You also have to get their permission for any changes that would affect their parental rights. A move-away or relocation scenario is a perfect example. If you were to move a significant distance from where you currently live, that would likely make it far more challenging for the other parent of your children to see them frequently.

How will shared custody affect your right to move as you please?

You need permission for certain moves

Iowa state law is very clear about how far you can move without requiring permission either from your co-parent or the courts. So long as you do not move more than 150 miles from with current residence, you can potentially relocate as you wish.

Moving to the other end of town is a viable option. Leaving the county or the state might mean more of a challenge. If the other parent of your children understands that you want to move for family purposes or a job opportunity, they may work with you to modify your existing parenting plan. The two of you could then file an uncontested modification that includes your new living arrangements.

If the other parent does not support your desire to move, and then you may have to go to court. An Iowa family law judge will consider whether the move would be in the best interests of the children. The reduction in access for their other parent will certainly be a concern, but there could be benefits to offset the harm the move could cause.

Better schools, more access to other family members or access to specialized medical professionals could all be part of your case in court. If you can convince a judge that the move would benefit the children more than the current arrangements, a judge may decide to approve the move. Other times, they may adjust your parenting plan to allow the move but give your co-parent more time with the children overall.

Your best chance of success comes first from the cooperation of the other parents and then from presenting your case with the appropriate focus. Understanding what influences child custody decisions in Iowa family court proceedings can help you prepare to present your modification request.