Here in Montana, we are enjoy wide open spaces and room to breathe without hundreds or thousands of other people crowded around. Unfortunately, being at home on the range can prove difficult when it comes to child custody disputes.
For many parents divorcing in Montana, custody issues are very difficult to resolve — especially when one parent decides to move away.
If you want to move away from your child's other parent, there is a very high likelihood that doing so will complicate your custody arrangement. This doesn't mean that its impossible, but it is an issue you should approach very carefully.
In most cases, it is wise to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney. Even if you can accomplish your goals without involving a court, making choices that conflict with an existing custody order may land you in hot water sooner or later. It is always wiser to make sure you're covered legally before making any big moves (geographical or otherwise).
Do you plan to move without your child?
This is a huge issue, obviously, but you'd be surprised how many parents think that it's not a big deal if they choose to move away with or without a child. At the heart of a custody arrangement is a delicate balance between the needs of the child and what is best for them, surrounded by the ability of one or both parents to provide for the child.
If, for instance, you plan to move away from Billings on your own, leaving your child with his or her other parent, or with a family member, it is very important that you make sure the other parent understands the situation and can pick up your slack. If you do not, the court may not take kindly to your actions — especially if you fall behind on any child support obligations.
Do you plan to move with the child?
Far more complicated, of course, are scenarios where one parent wishes to move away from the other parent and take the child with them. In these cases, you definitely want to make sure you consult with an attorney.
What you might think of as normal relocation, the other parent may claim is parental kidnapping.
Depending on the nature of your existing custody arrangement and the number of privileges that the other parent currently enjoys, you may face more or less difficulty getting proper approval to move away.
If your move takes you out of state, it is even more crucial that you dot your i's and cross your t's. Moving out of state generally means severely hampering the other parent's access to the child, and you must make a strong case that this is in the best interest of the child.