Taking Child Out of State

Updated on February 03, 2010
H.H. asks from Oil City, PA
17 answers

Hi Ladies.. I have been in the middle of a divorce for some time now and I have a lawyer so I know my legal rights to this question but I thought maybe there might be someone out there that might have delt with this and found away around things legally of course that could give me some advice. After filing for my divorce I met a wonderful man who lives in another state, almost 800 miles away. We have been seeing each other as often as possible and keep in touch over the phone and net. okay now for the promblem, I was informed that if I move out of state my husband can force me to bring my daughter back and that would not be good for me. I could loose cudtody of her. Leaving her here is not an option I love her too much to do that. Though the man I have been seeing has been looking for work closer to me he has been unsuccessful with the way things are. He is willing to move to be closer to us. This has been going on for several months and we really need an answer. I am not heartless I do not want to take her from her dad but in the mean time he is dating and happy and I am suffering. Has anyone had this happen to them? If so what did you do to make things right. Yes I have been praying about this. :)

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Erie on

I have a friend who had joint custody. She and her X lived in the Philadelphia area -- and it worked well, until she wanted to move home to N Carolina. . . . And she had to choose between her life and joint custody. She stayed in Philadelphia.

I have questions:

1) why are you dating someone that seriously before your divorce is final?

2) Are you planning to move in with him, or marry the guy ?

3) If you have custody, and he has the right of visitation, you could probably legally work out new visitation agreements . . .. but that seems premature when the divorce isn't even final . . .

4) In the end, you may simply have to decide what is most important to you: being there to raise your daughter, or having a fun love life. I would vote for for the former, because she is your next of kin, and because all too soon, you'll turn around, take a good look at her and realize she's all grown up. That cap and gown seem lightyears away, but they come way too quickly. . . And it IS possible to have a happy dating relationship from far away - it keeps you from jumping from the frying pan (your marriage) into the fire (this new relationship) without thinking. . . It gives you time to know each other better. Because you are writing to each other via e-mail, you get more "listening" time than we tend to give face to face -- and you'll hear more of his life and who he is.

5) Why are you balancing this off with your ex-hub's status ? "He's dating and happy and I am suffering?" This new relationship of yours has nothing to do with whether your ex is happy or not. And, if this new relationship is all that good, why are you suffering ? There are a great many divorced people who never find another person with whom to share their hearts, or their lives in marriage again -- so why are you "suffering" over a happy, albeit far away, relationship ? Yes, it's frustrating to have the person you love so far away, but think of all the military families whose partners are gone for 6 mos to a year at at time and in combat, as well. At least this guy is in the USA, and time may bring him closer to you -- but certainly, in this economic time, he shouldn't move without a confirmed job in the new location.

I know this is tough, and it's hard to sit home every weekend, when your ex is out and about, dating . . . but there's also a big difference between "dating" and moving in with someone . . . so examine your values, and whom you value most, and go with that, even if it's painful for now.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on


I know how difficult this situation can be. I have been a single mom for a long time and I have been through it all. Luckily for me, however, I do not have the same problem with my ex. I am originally from NYC and moved to Pittsburgh in 2005 (not because of a man, but for a better life). We have a wonderful life here and he knows this, so has never fought it. He visits from NY and, of course, we go to NY on a regular basis since our entire family and our friends are still there.

So, my question is: Have you actually spoken with your husband? Has he given any indication that he would be against you moving away? If he has, then you need to give serious thought to what is best for your daughter, before thinking of what is best for you. I am not saying this to be judgmental at all. I am saying it because I live it...

My son is 18 years old and has only met ONE man in his entire life, and that is my daughter's dad. My daughter is five and a half now, and I have NOT been with a man since she was born (I left her father when she was nine weeks old). My focus has been on her and what is best for her. However, I have finally met the love of my life and have been with him for two years. He is in NY and has never been in my home or met my kids. I am, however, now planning to let him visit and let them get to know him before we continue any further (we have been talking marriage). It is very important to the both of us that the kids accept him and the situation before we make anything final.

I know the situation is not exactly the same, because I have already made the move. But my point is, you need to give this some really serious thought from the points of view of your daughter and her father. Take your time, there is no need to rush if this guy really is "The One". He will understand and be there when you have figured it all out.

Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi H.,

I can "hear" the hope in your voice that there is a solution that works for everyone. However, I don't think you have the option to take your daughter out of state. You deserve to be as happy as your ex is, but it is your daughter that is the focus right now.

The man you want to be with sounds like he could be the one, especially if he's willing to move to you and uproot his life for you. But, a couple of things to think about. What if the situation were reversed...would you want your husband moving that far away with your daughter? You don't say how long your relationship with the man has been going on, but it sounds like a bit of time. But, until you see someone almost on a daily basis, you don't really know if you want to go against a court order, or try to have that court order overturned. In any event, is he worth losing custody of your daughter?

Another question (which you obviously don't have to answer to me)... why do you "really need an answer." Has something come up that is forcing the issue, or are you just tired of not being together?

He may be a great guy, but is he worth losing your daughter over?

Best of luck to you. I'm sure this is stressful for you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Hi H.,

How long have you been in the new relationship?

It is not about you at this point. It is about the
relationship that is between your daughter and her father.

You need to wait until your daughter is 18 before making a decision to make her cope with, loss of her father, her home, her friends, and her school.

Is it worth it to destroy your child's life.

A voice of experience. Hugs, D.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think that if the is, indeed, "the O.", your relationship will survive the length of time it takes for him to find a job in your city. You've already been legally advised that you cannot take her out of state. If you step back and look at the situation, I think you see that your daughter's relationship with her father is more important than you immediately being with a guy in another state who is actively looking for work near you.



answers from York on

Just from reading your "question" I can tell you already know that you can't & shouldn't leave. Be a good person



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, H.~
I feel your pain, and your hope. Hang in there.
Some thoughts based on my past experience...

1. I started dating someone just before my divorce was finalized a few years ago. He was wonderful, and we clicked instantly. However, after about 6 months into the relationship, I ended things for a variety of reasons. Looking back, it was probably bad timing...I was coming out of a relationship and he was my rebound, whether either one of us saw it that way on not. During our time apart, I dated others, and the two of us became very good friends once again, on a platonic level only.

About 9 months ago, we started dating again, and things are great. I have moved past my relationship after marriage issues, and we are in a happy, healthy place. I don't think we'd be here right now, had i not taken the time to spend time on my own, as well as dating others. Be patient with this new relationship. Now is probably not the time to uproot your daughter's fragile life. Maybe down the road...

2. My ex-husband moved out of state (1000 miles away) a year and a half ago (not for a relationship, but to be with his family). There were promises of visiting every three weeks, but that never happened. My son now sees his father 3 or 4 times a year. When my ex calls daily to talk to him, often he'll just say, "No, thanks." when I give him the phone. He is only 4 now and doesn't get it, but he will probably grieve the loss of his formative years with his father when he is older. It breaks my heart that he will never have a 'normal' relationship with his dad, and it worries me how this will affect his future relationship with his children. For the sake of your daughter, again, please do not take her away from her father unless it is absolutely your only option to survive.

3. There is no reason for you to wait to date until your daughter is grown up. You also need to take care of you. However, if you continue with this man, your dating relationship may need to be long distance, or he may need to move to be near you when the timing is right. You deserve to be happy; just please be sure to take good care of your daughter (especially emotionally) at the same time!


answers from Allentown on

First of all, I'm sorry about your difficulties, I hope everything works out for your daughter so that you're not caught in an ugly legal mess....Secondly, I'm not speaking from personal experience, esp. since it's not my situation, but in terms of common sense from other peoples' experiences as far as some close friends of mine are concerned (both men AND women), BE CAREFUL about your relationship with the new guy in your life. Granted, that's great that you're happy, just be VERY careful, no matter WHAT he says or does to show that he loves you/respects you. I've had both men AND women friends who put their hearts/souls into the new relationship as the divorce was being finalized, and the new g/f or b/f just out of nowhere would tell them, "Sorry, I'm just not ready for a huge committment", after ALL the effort that was put into the new relationship...so, BE VERY CAREFUL!

Thirdly, from one woman to another, who CARES if your soon-2-b X-spouse is dating and happy? If anything, you're probably better off, so don't worry about him so much, no matter how hard it hurts....it's wasted energy on yourself, and it'll deplete the energy you need for yourself AND your daughter.

Furthermore, you have a daughter who loves you AND her father, no matter what has happened and what will happen between you both. Be the example of strength and courage that she'll need to understand...what if (God forbid) SHE were to be in the situation that YOU are in right now, how would you suggest that she handle everything that's thrown at her? What life lessons are important to YOU that you'd want to pass onto HER?

Remember to do things for yourself...take a hot bubble bath ALONE! Get a mani/pedi, new hairdo, etc., whatever will re-boost your inner soul and self-esteem to face the world ahead of you. Sounds like U could use all the support and love from your family and friends right now, so being good to your daughter starts with you being good to YOU!

No matter how good your lawyer is, keep looking up state laws regarding custody so that you always have yourself covered in that dept. I just googled "state custody laws" and a WHOLE bunch of sites came up, so you should find info. on them.

Good luck, God bless!



answers from Philadelphia on

I have read the other responses and agree that you should not take your child out of state. But one of the main reasons that your attorney advised against it... it that you could be arrested for kidnapping. Taking your child out of state without permission is ILLEGAL!!! And criminal. A mother and father have equal rights to a child. You do not have the right to seperate that child from the father. It is not about you but about the emotional needs of that child.

You can either work something out with your ex but if he disagrees then you have no other choice but to stay with your child or to leave your child with the father and for you to get visitation rights.

You new love has to make the move...not you.



answers from Pittsburgh on

If you move out of state you will be respnsible to provide the transportation for your daughter to visit her father. Also he has to give you permission to move out of state. This happened with my boyfriend. His ex-wife move out of stste and she had to drive their son back for monthly visits with him. Now she has moved back to PA so we see him every weekend. The trips were stressful for Hunter. Just something to thnk about. Is it worth putting your child in a car for several hours a month.



answers from Philadelphia on

There is a three-prong test used to determine whether a mother (or father) can move the child away from the non-custodial parent. It has something to do with 1) is it better for the custodial parent; 2) is the custodial parent clearly NOT trying to ruin the non-custodial parent's relationship with the child; and 3) I'd have to look up the PA custody statutes. However, just dating wouldn't rise to the level of it being good for you. You'd need to be married to him first. You'd also need to bring an action in court to modify custody, you'd have to go through mediation and then, if you couldn't resolve it that way, you'd have to go to a hearing in front of a judge. All of this takes time and money - alot of it. In the meantime, your daughter's father could bring suit against you to get full custody of your daughter. And there are no guarantees as to how this will work out. I know what I am talking about because I married a wonderful man who lived in Maine (I was and am a Pennsylvania resident) after my divorce. He eventually moved away from Maine (and his children) to live with me in Pennsylvania because I could not get out of state. Wish I could say more positive things here, but it is difficult. The only other thing, and I'm not sure of your situation, would be to try to work out an agreement with your ex. Let him know your intentions of marrying this guy (I assume you are?) and that you want to move away but that you aren't trying to ruin his relationship with your daughter so you want to work an agreement out with him so he can spend time with her in the summer, etc. Usually, with how these things go, the non-custodial parent would then get to have the child for most, if not all, of the summer plus other times during the year. There would also be a strong possibility that you would be on the hook for all of the transportation costs. Anyway, hope this helps give you at least some idea of what you're up against. I hope it works out for you. In the end, it worked out for me and I have a wonderful husband. Hopefully, you'll be lucky too!



answers from Allentown on

It may seem unfair that your ex is happy in another relationship and yours is long distance, but you have to put your daughter first, and that means staying where you are. He can move to you when he finds a job. In the meantime you can have the best long distance relationship possible. There are married couples out there who have to live in different states for their jobs, so you can make it work.


answers from Williamsport on

It's amazing how women will move heaven and earth when they need something-and their kids and all. I know it is SOOOO hard to wait when love is involved, but for MANY reasons, you need to let your new man make this happen.

Practically speaking, it's harder for you to move your daughter than for him to move himself. Good relationship karma speaking, in general the man needs to be the one who works the hardest for the relationship in the beginning.

I know how hard it is, my husband and I were long distance for a couple of YEARS before HE left all of his comforts to come to the east coast. I could have fled to be with him many times, but though it was hard for both of us, it was harder for me to move, and I felt like I shouldn't be the one trying the hardest, or I'd be chasing him. I always had that fear that I would lose him if he had to wait, but if it's meant to be, it will be. Your daughter is your first priority, not a man who you've been seeing for a few months. And I KNOW it's intense and important to be in love, but I wouldn't risk ANYTHING regarding my daughter or my rights with her to go to him. If he loves you as much as you love him, he will make it work, even if it takes a long time to find a job near you.

My friend (single male) just had his long distance girlfriend and her 6yo daughter from Tennessee move out here to be with him. He felt it was too hard to leave his business here (or in his words, "If she can't move out here, we'll have to break up, because I'm tired of traveling"), so she decided to move to be with him (as women often do). Now she's out here, bored out of her mind, can't find work, almost no friends, they're broke because my friend's salary is only comfy for himself as a bachelor, not two ladies, her daughter misses her dad, but MOST of ALL, my friend is just "trying her out" like any other girlfriend. He has no intention of proposing, he's not sure if he wants to be a dad, he didn't want to be with her enough to move, but if she's willing to come be with him, he's all for it. To me he doesn't really seem smitten, and now he's feeling the pressure of having her here with no real commitment on his part. He's said more than once, "I never promised her anything..."when they fight.

Not saying this is your scenario, but BE PATIENT. Your exes dating and being "happy" doesn't matter. Men always have it made. Don't think about that. You and your daughter are precious enough for your new man, or any man worthy of you to work for. Don't move unless it's absolutely kosher for your daughter, you REALLY want to go to where he lives for yourself as well-maybe he lives somewhere you always wanted to go? Or you REALLY love it there when you visit... and MOST OF ALL, he has proven he is THAT SERIOUS about you. He's checked into all the facilities for your daughter, he's found ways to make it good there for her in his home or he's gotten you guys a nice place, he's gotten some things together to entice you about living there, he's making sacrifices to provide, not just to have you guys fit into his life all willy nilly at your own risk. Be careful! Good luck!



answers from Reading on

It sounds like if you could just hang in there your new man will find something closer to you and you can avoid all this unpleasantness. If you're moving has the added purpose to 'get away' from your ex and his new life, it doesn't sound like it will work but just make things more difficult for you. Good Luck with whatever you decide.



answers from Allentown on

You can't leave the state/area due to love. You have a committment to stay near for your child.

Now if you had a job and a better lifestyle in a new area then you can petition the court to allow you to move if the dad says no. You do have to give 30 days notice and yes just by leaving you would put a big black mark on you and custody.

Each parent is to make sure the other parent is able to see and participate in a child's life.

Try and work out arrangements with the dad and also the divorce. Some times it can be worked out for all concerned.

Plus, you still legally married, you shouldn't be in a relationship now, take time to heal and be on your own before starting something new.



answers from Louisville on

I had shared parenting of my two daughters and they resided with me and ex wife had visiting rights.I lived in ohio and had to move to atlanta Ga all I had to do was to notify the court of my intentions either by stopping by the court house and filling out a notice of intent or you can down load it from your local web sight .
I would try to talk to him first and then if that didnt work file a intent to move then wait to see what happens also ask the child what she wants to happen /
i know its hard on the both of you but belive me its twice is hard on the child .
I had no problem with my ex cause she simply didnt care but also I left for a better job that ment a bete living for them and in the end its waht the court looks at is whats best for the child good luck and god bless



answers from York on

I didn't know it was illegal to move a child out of state. In fact I was told just the opposite in MD. Maybe it's some PA thing I don't know about. But I was told I had every right to live my life wherever I wanted. But you definitely would have the transportation costs to get your daughter to and from visits with dad. The one thing I would like to say is do not, under any circumstances, move to another state for a man you've only had a long distance relationship with for a few months!!! Please! With every fiber of my being let me convey what a serious risk that is! You have enough to deal with right here at home for now. Get your divorce finalized, get you and your daughter situated in your new life, and Mr. 800 miles comes after that.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches