Moving or traveling when a child custody order is in place

If parents have a child custody order and one parent wants to move or travel with the children, they may have questions about how to manage this. The requirements will vary based on the parents’ individual circumstances, however there is general information available that is useful.


Usually, a parent who has a permanent order for sole physical custody can move with the children unless the other parent can demonstrate that the move would cause harm to the children.

If the parents have joint physical custody of the children and one parent does not want the children to move, the parent who wants to move must demonstrate that it is in the best interests of the children.

In situations where the child moves away with a parent, the other parent may have the option to change his or her visitation schedule and may consider using virtual technology to stay connected.


If one parent wants to travel out of state or out of the country with the children, that parent will usually need the other parent’s permission to do so. This is especially true if the other parent will miss a court-ordered visitation with the children while they are away.

The parents’ child custody and visitation court order may also address any restrictions on travel with the children. Depending on those restrictions, the court may have to give its permission for the travel.

If the court provides permission, traveling parents may want to keep a copy of the order with them in case they are asked for it.

An experienced attorney can help parents with additional questions about moving or traveling with their children when a custody order is in place.