As in other states, the Indiana General Assembly has set up special Indiana relocation requirements that apply when parents or other individuals with child custody rights relocate. But many might be surprised to learn that even a non custodial parent in Indiana must take certain steps before relocating. And amendments made in 2019 to Indiana child custody laws have changed the relocation scene, so it is important to know whether the law regarding the relocation of a non custodial parent in Indiana applies to you. Knowing what to do before you move and where to find help with the process can help preserve your parenting time rights.
What the Law Requires for the Relocation of a Non Custodial Parent in Indiana
Indiana Code § 31-9-2-107.7 defines “relocation” as a change in the primary residence of an individual for a period of at least sixty (60) days. Indiana’s relocation laws come into play most frequently if a move would result in an increase of more than twenty (20) miles between the relocating individual’s residence and the nonrelocating individual’s residence or one that would result in a change in a child’s school. Parenting time schedules are based in part on custody and distance factors, so even the relocation of a non custodial parent can have an impact. For a better chance at a smooth transition, following the steps set out in the Indiana relocation statute is key.
Who is the Custodial Parent in Indiana?
The relocation statute sets out the same requirements for the relocation of both custodial and non custodial parents. Custody determinations may be spelled out in custody, parenting time, or grandparent visitation orders. These orders as well as a child support order can be impacted by the relocation of a non custodial parent in Indiana. As a result, it’s necessary to know your legal role with your child. How do you know if you are custodial or non custodial parent or individual? Look at court orders.
The other place to look to look to determine status is at the law itself. Understanding certain definitions is key when navigating the Indiana relocation statute:
- Indiana Code § 31-9-2-30 defines a custodial parent as the parent who has been awarded physical custody.
- Indiana Code § 31-9-2-31 defines a custodian as the person with whom a child resides.
- Indiana Code § 31-9-2-83 defines a non custodial parent as the parent who does not have custody.
- Indiana Code § 31-9-2-84.7 defines a nonrelocating parent as the parent who does not intend to move but who still wants custody or parenting time with the child.
- Indiana Code § 31-9-2-84.6 defines a nonrelocating individualas an individual who does not intend to move and does not currently have custody but who wants custody, parenting time or visitation.
What the Relocating Individual Must Do, File, and Show
When a parent or grandparent of a child who is the subject of a custody, parenting time, or grandparent visitation order anticipates relocating, the relocating parent must give notice. The notice of intent to relocate Indiana requires should be filed in the court that issued the current custody, parenting time, or visitation order or that otherwise has jurisdiction over the matter. At a minimum, the notice must include the following information:
- The address of the new residence;
- The mailing address, if not the same as the new address;
- The phone numbers for the relocating individual;
- The date of the intended move;
- A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the child;
- A statement that the relocating individual either does or does not believe that a revision of parenting or grandparent visitation is necessary;
- A statement that a party may file a petition requesting an order to prevent the temporary or permanent relocation of a child and a statement that the nonrelocating individual may file a motion to modify custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order; and
- A statement that all existing order for custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order remain in effect until modification by the court.
The parent who is relocating must also provide cause and establish honest intent for the move.
The 2019 amendments to the Indiana relocation statute changed the deadlines for filing. Specifically, a notice of intent to relocate must be filed and served on the other relevant parties no later than 30 days before the date of the intended relocation or no more than 14 days after the relocating individual knows of the relocation, whichever is sooner.
How the Nonrelocating Parent Can Respond
A nonrelocating individual who has received an Indiana notice of intent to relocate may file an objection to the intended relocation. Indiana Code § 31-17-2.2-5 governs the objection process. If the relocating parent provides cause and honest intent, the objecting parent must provide evidence that the proposed relocation is not in the child’s best interest.
The nonrelocating parent must file a response within 20 days of service of the relocation notice.
Factors the Court May Consider in Considering a Notice of Intent to Relocate
The relocation of a non custodial parent may proceed if all of the relevant parties—the relocating individual, the nonrelocating parent, and any nonrelocating individuals—agree on the proposed relocation. However, the court may be asked to adjust orders on parenting time, grandparent visitation, or child support if the relocation depending on the distance of the move and related circumstances.
If a nonrelocating parent or nonrelocating individual opposes the planned move, either party may request the court to hear each party’s argument and decide the appropriateness of the relocation.
A court hearing evidence on the relocation of a non custodial parent in Indiana or of any relocating individual whose move would affect a child who is subject to a court order, the court considers several factors:
- The distance involved in the proposed relocation;
- The hardship and expense to the nonrelocating individual;
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship of the non-relocating individual and the child;
- Whether there exists a pattern of conduct by the relocating individual to promote or thwart a nonrelocating individual’s contact with the child; and
- The reasons for the relocation.
When Do You Need an Indiana Child Custody Lawyer for Relocation Custody Cases?
As either a relocating custodial parent or a nonrelocating individual in receipt of an Indiana notice of intent to relocate, it is important to know the information and timeliness requirements of Indiana law as it relates to moving residence. The amendments to the Indiana Code in 2019 make some of the information you might find online obsolete.
Call attorney Julie Camden of Camden & Meridew, P.C., to make sure you know the current status of the law and your rights and obligations. Julie is experienced in family law and cases involving the relocation of a non custodial parent in Indiana and will help ensure your rights are protected. Call Camden & Meridew at 317-770-0000 or fill out our online contact form for a consultation.