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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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Me and my child's father have a temporary custody order from

Customer Question

Me and my child's father have a temporary custody order from the courts at the time we went to court we both lived in North Carolina so we meet half way for visit exchanges since this temporary order has been written he has moved to a different state am I still required to meet him half way between states
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience in family law, appeals, landlord-tenant, and other types of law. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information and not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

Also – I will be typing my answer for you so I’ll be back in a few minutes – I’d like to review your question for a minute and then I’ll be right back.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 6 months ago.

I'm going to opt out. Someone else will help you. Best of luck!

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 months ago.

Good evening. I apologize for the other attorney having to leave. I'm glad to help.

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 months ago.

So that I can better understand the situation, where do you each currently reside, and where do the children primarily reside?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We we got the temporary custody order we both live in North Carolina I am primary parent he is secondary and on the weekend he moved to Virginia
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 months ago.

Ok, and you still live in North Carolina, is that correct?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for that information. I would like to see the exact language in your court order, if possible, but I can give you the general answer now and offer any specifics later if needed. Moving to another state, by itself, would generally not relieve either parent of their transportation obligations under a custody order (including where the parties are ordered to exchange.) The jurisdictional lines aren't as important as the distance-- moving across state lines can be a 2 mile relocation or a 3,000 mile relocation, and the question for a court is whether the relocation materially changes the custody order. If the parents live 50 miles apart at the time of the order and they live 51 miles apart after the relocation, that would ordinarily not constitute a material change in circumstances or place any additional burden on the other parent. If the parents lived 15 miles apart and they lived 300 miles apart after relocation, that would almost certainly negate a court's order to meet in between due to logistical impracticality/impossibility.

​So let's pretend that we have a scenario wherein one parent's relocation materially inhibits the other party from meeting their obligation under the order. The safest option for the "innocent parent" is usually to go back to court to motion for clarification of the existing order, specifically asking the court to clarify whether the "innocent parent" is still obliged to make half the travel, and a motion to modify in the alternative if the court finds that the original intent was to require meeting half way no matter what.

​So if the distance between homes is suddenly extensive, what to do until the court can clarify/modify the existing order? If the "innocent parent" simply can't meet half way due to the burden of transportation, she isn't guilty of contempt of court because contempt of court requires a finding that disobedience of the court's order is intentional. However, it would usually be advisable to make whatever arrangements are reasonably possible to comply with the court's order as much as possible. If the court order calls for three exchanges per week and the "innocent parent" can transport the child only one day per week, the innocent parent should make those arrangements. If the distance between the parents is 500 miles and the "innocent parent" can travel 50 of those miles, that needs to happen as well. Inconveniences arise in custody matters and everyone has to accept that there will be times when you're inconvenienced at no fault of your own, but you want to always show the court that you will do what you can to comply until the court can render a fair decision based on the new circumstances.

​ Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please feel free to leave a rating once you are completely finished (it does not cost anything extra to do so and it is the only way that I may be credited for my answers.) Thank you!