When parents with child custody orders move, current Indiana law requires a detailed formal notice 90 days in advance. That notice is required, even if you move from one apartment to another in the same complex.
Starting July 1, 2019, that law will change, thanks to Senate Bill 292 that was enacted with the assistance of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Parental Relocation Task Force. Bays Family Law attorney Donna J. Bays was part of the task force, that spent months gathering information and analyzing the impact of each aspect of the relocation law. The amended law exempts some parents from the formal notice requirement and reduces the standard notice period to 30 days.
What you need to know
Informal Written Notice
You must provide written notice of the following to all other parties (usually the other parent):
- Your home address, and
- All of your telephone numbers, and
- All of your email addresses
Texts and email will satisfy this requirement.
Exemptions from Further Requirements
No further notice is required if:
- The move will reduce the distance between homes, or
- Your child won’t have to change schools or increase the distance between homes by more than 20 miles, or
- The relocation is covered by a prior court order
Formal Court Notice
If you don’t qualify for one of those exemptions, you have to file a formal Relocation Notice with the Court and send a copy to every other party through certified mail. The Court Notice must be filed 30 days before the move or 14 days after you learn of the move, whichever is sooner.
Contents of Court Notice
The formal Court Notice must contain:
- Your new address;
- All of your phone numbers, including mobile – even if they are not changing;
- Date of the move;
- Reasons for the move;
- A statement advising the other party whether you think that the court orders on parenting time or grandparent visitation should be modified;
- A statement informing the other party that s/he has 20 days to file a response;
- A statement informing the other party of the right to ask the court to prevent the relocation;
- A statement informing the other party of the right to file a motion seeking to modify child custody, parenting time, support, or grandparent visitation; and
- A statement informing the other party that all current orders will remain in effect until modified by the Court.
Safety Concerns & Domestic Violence
If the Court finds that sharing information would endanger a parent or a child, the court may issue an order excusing that parent from revealing information in the formal Court Notice or the informal written notice. This exclusion would typically apply when there is a history of domestic violence, stalking, or threats of violence.
Response to Court Notice
The other party has 20 days to file a response with the Court. The law gives 3 options for the content of the response:
- I don’t object, and we don’t need to modify the current court orders;
- I don’t object, but I want a hearing because we need to modify orders on child custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, or child support; or
- I object to the child’s relocation and want a hearing and stop the relocation or modify custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, or child support.
If a hearing is requested, the Response has to state whether the parties tried to resolve the issue through mediation or other alternative dispute methods.
Court Hearing on Relocation
Even when the formal Court Notice is not required, any party can ask the Court for a hearing to prevent a child’s relocation or modify child-related orders. When a hearing is requested, the Court is required to hold a full evidentiary hearing on whether to allow the relocation or modify child orders.