A final divorce decree is often a bittersweet moment. It is bitter in the sense that it legally ends a marriage and for many it is sweet in that the difficult decisions, anxieties and emotions that go along with the divorce process are over and the parties are free to move on with their individual lives. For some divorcees that means moving to a new state to be closer to family, for a new job or simply to start a new adventure.
Your Divorce Will be Respected in All States
Once your divorce is legally granted, you should expect your divorce to be respected in every state in the nation. The full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution requires each state to respect the judicial proceedings of other states. Since a divorce is a judicial proceeding, it is recognized nationwide. That means that you are a single person in the eyes of the law and that you are free to date or remarry if you so desire.
If your divorce decree creates continuing obligations between you and your ex-spouse then it is important for you to let your spouse know about your move. For example, if you are receiving or providing alimony or child support then your ex-spouse should be able to locate you.
Moving to a New State with Children
If you are a parent then the procedures for moving to a new state are more complicated since your move will not only affect you but also your children and your ex-spouse. Generally, a child can only be moved out of state if the parent has the permission of the other parent or a court.
If the other parent does not agree to the move then the court will consider whether the move is in the child’s best interest. In making its decision, the court will consider the child’s relationship with the other parent, with other relatives, with his or her school and with the community. While a parent’s interests in moving out of state are not completely disregarded, they are only considered in terms of how they affect the best interest of the child. For example, if a parent wants to move for a better job, the increase in income may be in the best interest of the child and that would be weighed against the factors described above. Or, if a parent needed medical care that could not be obtained in state then the court may find that it is in the best interest of the child to have the parent recover from his or her illness or injury and to keep the child with the recovering parent. Each case is decided on an individual basis.
Sometimes the best thing to do after a divorce is to move on. If moving on includes a move out of state then it is important that it be done legally so that the parents and children can truly move forward.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.