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Relocating Out of Nevada with the Child

If the parent with primary physical custody of a child wants to move out of the State of Nevada with the child, the proper procedure is to get the other parent to agree in writing with the move. Otherwise, the parent with primary physical custody must file a motion requesting permission from the court to relocate outside of Nevada. Moving without following the requirement of Nevada law can result in charges being filed against the parent that makes the move.

The parent making the request must have “a sensible, good faith reason for the move” before the court will consider the motion. Cook v. Cook, 111 Nev. 822 (1995). After such a showing, the district court in Clark County, NV, will consider the relocation motion by determining what is in the "best interest" of the child. If the court allows the move, the court may decide to reduce the child support obligation to offset the additional travel expenses to exercise visitation or custodial time with the child. Alternatively, the court could require the parent with primary physical custody to pay the extra travel expenses.

Don't take any action until after you have sought out the advice of an attorney. Before planning a move or relocation, talk with an experienced family law attorney in Las Vegas, NV, to find out how you can demonstrate to the court that the move will be in the child's best interest. We also represent the non-primary custodial parent who wants to object to the child moving out of Nevada.

The attorneys at Mills, Mills & Anderson are experienced in actions to modify post-divorce decree orders regarding alimony or spousal support. We are also experienced in representing clients in motions to modify orders concerning child custody, visitation and child support. Call us to discuss the unique facts of your case at (702) 386-0030. We represent clients in modification actions throughout Clark County including Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas, Nevada.


Procedures to Petition the Court for Permission to Move the Child

NRS 125C.200 governs relocation by a custodial parent with the child out of state and provides:

If custody has been established and the custodial parent intends to move his or her residence to a place outside of [Nevada] and to take the child with him or her, the custodial parent must, as soon as possible and before the planned move, attempt to obtain the written consent of the noncustodial parent to move the child from this State [of Nevada]. If the noncustodial parent refuses to give that consent, the custodial parent shall, before leaving this State [of Nevada] with the child, petition the court for permission to move the child.

Nevada law under NRS 125C.200 requires a parent with primary physical custody of a child who intends to move outside the State of Nevada with the child to do all of the following:

  1. obtain the written consent of the noncustodial parent; or
  2. if the noncustodial parent refuses to give such consent, petition the court for permission to move with the child.

This requirement also exists if a parent with primary physical custody of a child wants to move with the child to a place within Nevada, but a place that is at such a distance that it would substantially impair the ability of the other parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child.

If a parent has joint physical custody of a child pursuant to an order, judgment or decree of a court and wants to relocate outside the State of Nevada then the parent must also seek the court’s permission. This rule applies to a move within the State of Nevada if the move is at a distance that would substantially impair the ability of the other parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child. The parent seeking to move such a distance must do the following:

  1. obtain the written consent of the non-relocating parent; or
  2. if the non-relocating parent refuses to give such consent, petition the court for primary physical custody of the child for the purpose of relocating.

The Court is also allowed to award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to a relocating parent or custodial parent, if the non-relocating parent or noncustodial parent refused to give consent to the relocation:

  1. without having reasonable grounds for such refusal; or
  2. for the purpose of harassing the relocating or custodial parent.

The parent who files a petition for permission to relocate with a child must demonstrate to the court certain reasons and benefits relating to the relocation. When deciding whether the relocation will be allowed, the court must consider certain factors set out in the statute.

If a parent relocates with a child without the written consent of the other parent or the permission of the court or before the court enters an order granting the parent primary physical custody of the child and permission to relocate with the child, the the parent can be charged with a category D felony unless:

  1. the parent demonstrates a compelling excuse for the relocation; or
  2. the parent relocated to protect the child or the parent from danger.

If a parent relocates with a child in violation of the statute, then the court cannot consider any post-relocation facts or circumstances regarding the welfare of the child or the relocating parent in making any subsequent custody determinations. Additionally, the non-relocating parent can recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred as a result of the relocating parent's violation.


Policy Considerations Behind NRS 125C.200

The statute, NRS 125C.200, applied only to instances where a parent has been granted primary physical custody of his or her child and wants to relocate outside of Nevada. NRS 125C.200 was designed to preserve a parent's rights and familial relationship with the child.

When the primary custodial parent attempts to remove the child over the other parent's objection, it can create unfair legal and practical advantages for the relocating parent in subsequent custody proceedings.

Additionally, the child would likely develop a routine and become accustomed to life in the new state which would work in favor of the relocating parent because maintain stability for the child is an important factor considered by the courts.

Additionally, if becomes difficult for the non-relocating parent to maintain a relationship with the child because of the substantial travel costs that will be incurred.


Factors Considered by the Court

In considering a motion to relocate, the Court must decide “whether it is in the best interest of the child to live with parent A in a different state or parent B in Nevada.” Potter v. Potter, 121 Nev. 613, 618 (2005).

The district court could consider these factors when determining what is in the child’s best interest:

  1. the extent to which the move is likely to improve the quality of life for both the child(ren) and the custodial parent;
  2. whether the custodial parent's motives are honorable, and not designed to frustrate or defeat visitation rights accorded to the noncustodial parent;
  3. whether, if permission to remove is granted, the custodial parent will comply with any substitute visitation orders issued by the court;
  4. whether the noncustodian's motives are honorable in resisting the motion for permission to remove, or to what extent, if any, the opposition is intended to secure a financial advantage in the form of ongoing support obligations or otherwise;
  5. whether, if removal is allowed, there will be a realistic opportunity for the noncustodial parent to maintain a visitation schedule that will adequately foster and preserve the parental relationship with the noncustodial parent.

Schwartz v. Schwartz, 107 Nev. 378, 382-83 (1991). These types of cases to modify the terms of child custody and support are also common when one or both parents are serving in the military.


Attorneys for Modifications to Relocate Out of Nevada

If you are interested in moving or relocating out of the State of Nevada with a child as the custodial parent, or if you wish to object to such a move, then contact the attorneys at Mills, Mills & Anderson.

We are experienced in helping parents modify child support and child custody orders after the divorce or paternity issues are decided. We are also experienced in defending actions to modify an order throughout Clark County including Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas, NV.

Call (702) 386-0030 today to discuss your case.

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