Oklahoma Child Custody; Relocation of Minor Child or Children

After a divorce, parents may seek a child custody order to set forth the custody of the minor child or children. A parent’s ability to relocate a minor child may be impacted by the terms of their child custody order, including whether or not one parent has sole custody of the child or if the parents share joint legal custody of the child or children. A situation may arise where either party intends to move his or her primary residence or the primary residence of the child(ren) over seventy-five (75) miles for a period of sixty (60) days or more. When such move is not a temporary absence from the child(ren)’s principal residence, the relocating party must provide notice of the move to the other party. The requirements for notice will be set out in the divorce decree. 

When the other parent receives proper notice of intent to relocate, that parent has a limited amount of time to file an objection to the relocation in court. If no objection is made by the other parent, the child or children may be relocated. If the other parent timely objects, the matter will be handled by the family court.

Burden of Proof for Relocation of Minor Child or Children.

The statute shifts the burden during the process. Essentially there is a two stage process. Stage One: The custodial (relocating parent) has the burden to demonstrate the proposed relocation is made in good faith.  Stage Two: If the custodial parent meets its burden, the non-custodial parent must demonstrate that the move is NOT in the child’s best interests.  There are several specific factors that the family court is not to weigh.  However, there are also specific factors that the family court must weigh making its determination.  Always consult an experienced family lawyer when you decide to relocate. Contact one of our Tulsa Family Law attorneys for a consultation today.