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Can I Relocate with my Children After an Oklahoma Divorce?

relocation after an Oklahoma divorceRelocation after an Oklahoma divorce will depend on a variety of factors, including distance. According to Oklahoma statutes, you must provide a written notice of relocation after an Oklahoma divorce to your ex-spouse if you plan to move more than 75 miles from your primary residence.

Notice of Relocation Requirements

Your notification letter must include, if available, the following:

  1. Your new address, if known;
  2. Your new mailing address if different from your new residence address;
  3. Your new home telephone number, if known;
  4. The date that you intend to move;
  5. The reason that you are relocating;
  6. A proposed child visitation schedule.

The notice must be delivered to your ex-spouse by mail a minimum of 60 days in advance of your intended relocation date. If you did not know, and could not have reasonably known, the above information in sufficient time to comply with the 60 day notice and you cannot reasonably extend the time of relocation after an Oklahoma divorce, notice must be given no later than ten days after you know the information.

What Happens after the Notification of Relocation has Been Sent?

If your ex-spouse disagrees with the relocation after an Oklahoma divorce, he or she must file a proceeding in court objecting to your move. If he or she does not file an objection, you are authorized to relocate with the children.

The best way to anticipate how your ex-spouse will react is to talk with him or her. If you can come to an agreement on the relocation and visiting procedures, the move will go much smoother for both you and your children. Your agreement should be put in writing and include a revised visitation schedule.

Oklahoma’s policy is that children should have frequent contact with both parents. Your revised schedule should include information, such as scheduled telephone visitation times, how the children will be transported, the days (including holidays) and the duration for visitation with the ex-spouse. You could also consider including web-based communications such as email or a web cam.

If you cannot agree, it may be wise to consider hiring a mediator to help resolve the issue. A mediator is a neutral third party that can help you resolve issues about your relocation and help you come to an agreement that will suit both you and your ex-spouse.

What Happens if my Ex-spouse Objects to my Relocation After an Oklahoma Divorce?

If your ex-spouse objects, it will be up to you to prove to the court that your relocation is being made in good faith. For example, the move is made for a better paying job, to an area with a lower cost of living, to be closer to relatives who can help with childcare, or continuing your education. The relocation will probably be denied if the court finds that your move is based on bad faith reasons, such as wanting to move further away from your ex-spouse for revenge or retaliation.

The court will make a determination on whether the relocation will be allowed based on the best interest of the children. The judge will look at factors including, but not limited to:

  • the children’s relationship with your ex-spouse, siblings and other significant people,
  • the children’s age and developmental stage,
  • the feasibility of preserving the children’s visitation with the ex-spouse,
  • the children’s preferences, and
  • whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life of you and your children.

What Will Happen if I do not Provide a Notification of Relocation to my Ex-spouse?

If you do not provide a notification of relocation, the court may consider that fact in its decision of whether to allow it and for modification of visitation or custody. It may also order that the children be returned and that you pay your ex-spouses’ attorney fees and all reasonable expenses incurred in objecting to the relocation after an Oklahoma divorce.

In addition, the court may cite you for contempt and impose other sanctions against you. If you plan to relocate with your children, it would be in everyone’s best interest to comply with the law and provide a notification of relocation to your ex-spouse.

What Can I do to Make the Relocation Easier on my Children?

A relocation is generally hard on children. They are removed from an environment that they know and separated from their school, friends and relatives. To make the move easier, you should discuss the move with your children.

Let them know why you are relocating and involve the children as much as possible in the planning to make them feel that they are participants rather than being forced. You should provide them with as much information as you can about the new location and, if possible, find out where they can participate in their favorite activities.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney

Divorce and child custody laws are complex. If you are contemplating moving to a location that is over 75 miles from your primary residence, you should contact a Tulsa divorce attorney for assistance. Divorce of Tulsa Law Office offers free consultations on child custody matters. Call 918-924-5526 today to schedule an appointment.