Understanding Child Custody and Relocation Laws in Louisiana

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During the wake of a divorce, many changes occur that will greatly affect your life, your former spouse, and your child. There’s the question of relocation, which typically happens when you want to be closer to your family when you need support to help care for your children. There’s also the question of seeking a new job or just seeking better employment and living arrangements.

However, having a child may make matters a little more complicated when moving. A Louisiana divorce laws and child custody lawyer can help you with this since the state has its own set of clear provisions about how far you can move your child following a divorce. Here’s everything you need to know about relocating with a child after a divorce.

Are There Special Laws I Have to Follow?

Louisiana has a specific set of relocation laws. If you want to move away with your kids, or if you want to stop your former spouse from moving, you have to know about the laws and comply with them. If you’re just going away to visit your parents for a two-week vacation, it won’t be considered “relocation.” There are a couple of conditions that need to be met in order for the court to recognize your move as a relocation. This involves a change in the child’s principal residence for a certain period of time.

Determining the Child’s Principal Residence

Generally, determining how far you can move with a child following divorce starts with establishing the child’s principal residence. When you say “principal residence,” it usually means either:

  • The location designated by a court to be the primary residence of the child;
  • In the absence of a court order, the location where both parents have expressly agreed the child will primarily reside, or;
  • In the absence of a court order or an express agreement, the location where the child has spent the majority of time during the prior six months.

Defining Relocation

When the child’s principal residence changes for 60 days or more, that is when the relocation is said to occur according to Louisiana law. If the residence change happens for less than 60 days, then that is only considered a temporary residence and isn’t subject to relocation laws. This only applies to cases where:

  • A parent intends to move the child to any location outside the boundaries of the state of Louisiana.
  • There’s no court order awarding custody, and a parent intends to move the child’s principal residence more than 75 miles away while remaining within Louisiana.
  • There is a court order awarding custody, and a parent intends to move the child, within Louisiana, but more than 75 miles from where the child’s principal residence was at the time the order was issued.
  • If the parents share equal physical custody or the court hasn’t established a principal residence, and a parent intends to move the child a distance of more than 75 miles away but still remain within Louisiana.

How Far Can You Move?

According to the aforementioned cases, Louisiana parents with custody of their children cannot move more than 75 miles away from the other parent following a divorce without a court order. This is because both parents should have reasonable access to the child, as dictated by the law. Despite living in different locations, both parents should have adequate time with their children even after a divorce.

If you have a question about child custody in Louisiana, contact The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl today.

Conclusion

Even after the divorce has been finalized and the custody battles are over, the matter of relocation is still another complicated issue most families will have to deal with. It can be difficult to know how to proceed with your children moving forward, but this guide should help you get an idea of what is dictated by Louisiana family law.

The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl is here to help in matters concerning family law, criminal defense, expungements, wills and successions, personal injury, and civil disputes. Christopher is a Bossier City attorney providing legal services since 2012. If you want to request a consultation, contact Christopher at 318-746-5610.

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