All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Filtering by Category: relocation

Indiana Relocation Law - Relocation and Custody Law in Indiana


This posting summarizes the factors and standard  Indiana courts use to decide a relocation case.

In 2006, the Indiana General Assembly added to the Family Law Title of the Indiana Code an entire chapter concerning the relocation of a custodial parent. See Ind. Code § 31-17-2.2.  This new chapter was summarized by our Supreme Court in Baxendale v. Raich, 878 N.E.2d 1252 (Ind.2008).


“Relocation” is “a change in the primary residence of an individual for a period of at least sixty (60) days,” and no longer requires a move of 100 miles or out of state. Id. at 1255-56.  A “relocating individual” is someone who “has or is seeking: (1) custody of a child; or (2) parenting time with a child; and intends to move the individuals principal residence.” Id. at 1256.  A “nonrelocating parent” is someone “who has, or is seeking: (1) custody of the child; or (2) parenting time with the child; and does not intend to move the individuals principal residence.”

Upon motion by either parent, the court must hold a hearing to review and modify the custody “if appropriate.” Id.  Per this statute, the trial court may, but is not required to, order a change of custody upon relocation.  Id. at 1253.  In determining whether to modify a custody order, the court is directed to consider the factors set out in I.C. § 31-17-2.2-1(b), which are specific to relocation.  Id.  I.C. § 31-17-2.2-1(b) states the factors as:

(1) the distance involved in the proposed change of residence;
(2) the hardship and expense involved for the nonrelocating individual to exercise parenting time or grandparent visitation;
(3) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating individual and   the child through suitable parenting time and grandparent visitation arrangements, including consideration of the financial circumstances of the parties;
(4) whether there is an established pattern of conduct by the relocating individual, including actions by the relocating individual to either promote or thwart a non-relocating individual’s contact with the child;
(5) the relocating parent’s reasons for relocating the child and the nonrelocating parent’s    reasons for opposing the relocation of the child; and
(6) other factors affecting the best interests of the child.  
I.C.  § 31-17-2.2-1(b).


Under I.C. § 31-17-2.2, there are two ways to object to a proposed relocation: a motion to modify a custody order under I.C. § 31-17-2.2-1(b), or a motion to prevent the relocation of a child under I.C. § 31-17-2.2-5(a).  Swadner v. Swadner, 897 N.E.2d 966, 976 (Ind. App.2008), See Baxendale at 1256.  In regards to a motion to prevent the relocation of a child, Indiana Code section 31-17-2.2-5 specifically provides that:

(a) Not later than sixty (60) days after receipt of the notice from the relocating individual under IC 31-14-13-10 or this chapter, a nonrelocating parent may file a motion seeking a temporary or permanent order to prevent the relocation of a child.
(b) On the request of either party, the court shall hold a full evidentiary hearing to grant or deny a relocation motion under subsection (a).
(c) The relocating individual has the burden of proof that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason.
(d) If the relocating individual meets the burden of proof under subsection (c), the burden shifts to the nonrelocating parent to show that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

If the non-relocating parent does not file a motion to prevent relocation, then the relocating parent with custody of the child may relocate. Baxendale at 1256, see I.C. § 31-17.2.2-5(e).  If the non-relocating parent does file a motion to prevent relocation, then the relocating parent must first prove that “the proposed relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason.” Swadner, 897 N.E.2d at 976 (quoting I.C. § 31-17-2.2-5(c)). If this burden is met, then the non-relocating parent must prove that “the proposed relocation is not in the best interests of the child.” Id. (quoting I.C. § 31-17-2.2-5(d)).  Under either a motion to prevent relocation or a motion to modify custody, if the relocation is made in good faith “both analyses ultimately turn on the best interests of the child.” Swadner, 897 N.E.2d at 976.

In general then, the court must consider the financial impact of relocation on the affected parties and the motivation for the relocation in addition to the effects on the child, parents and others identified in Ind.Code § 31-17-2-8, which governs initial child custody orders in accordance with the best interests of the child, which factors include:

(1) The age and sex of the child.
(2) The wishes of the child's parent or parents.
        (3) The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at     least fourteen years of age.                   
(4) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:
(A) the child's parent or parents;
(B) the child's sibling; and
(C) any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests.
(5) The child's adjustment to the child's:
(A) home;
(B) school; and
(C) community.
(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
(7) Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.
(8) Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian, and if the evidence is sufficient, the court shall consider the factors described in section 8.5(b) of this chapter.  
I.C § 31-17-2-8.

To discuss this further please contact me. For more on information on custody or relocation disputes, see all custody blog entries here.

Indiana Relocation Law - Moving With A Child In Indiana

A few years ago the laws regarding relocation changed drastically. Formerly, there was a only a duty to file a notice of relocation if you were moving 100 miles away, and only the custodial parent had that obligation. However, now anyone who has a parenting time or visitation order (including individuals who may have grandparent or third-party visitation rights) must file and serve upon the other party a notice of intent to relocate and they must do so when ever they relocate. There is no distance restriction for this. For example, if they move to the apartment across the street they must file and serve upon the other party a notice of intent to relocate.


The notice must be filed and served 90 days before the parent intends to relocate the children, and must contain the following information: the intended address of the new residence; the home telephone number of the new residence; any other applicable telephone number for the relocating individual; the date that the relocating individual intends to move; a brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the child; a proposal for a revised schedule of parenting time with the child; a statement that a parent must file an objection to the relocation of the child with the court not later than sixty (60) days after receipt of the notice; statement that a nonrelocating individual may file a petition to modify a custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order.

After filing and serving this notice the nonrelocating parent can file a motion objecting to the relocation of the children. Then, the relocation is contested and must be set for hearing.

Over the past two years the Court of Appeals has issued opinions illustrating how the relocation laws should work when applied. The most recent case is here. The Court of Appeals described the burden in a relocation case:
If the non-relocating parent files a motion to prevent relocation, the relocating parent must first prove that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. If this burden is met, the non-relocating parent must then prove that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

When considering whether the relocation is in the best interest of the child the court will consider the following factors:

(1) The distance involved in the proposed change of residence.
(2) The hardship and expense involved for the nonrelocating individual to
exercise parenting time or grandparent visitation.
(3) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating
individual and the child through suitable parenting time and grandparent
visitation arrangements, including consideration of the financial circumstances
of the parties.
(4) Whether there is an established pattern of conduct by the relocating
individual, including actions by the relocating individual to either promote or
thwart a nonrelocating individual‘s contact with the child.
(5) The reasons provided by the:
(A) relocating individual for seeking relocation; and
(B) nonrelocating parent for opposing the relocation of the child.


While the new relocation laws are complex and onerous, the effect of the law has been positive in that relocations must now be litigated before they occur. Furthermore, the procedure involved is now well-defined.

If you are going to be involved in a relocation or custody dispute you need an attorney. In this case the Court of Appeals stated:

We encourage parties facing issues involving the custody of children to obtain counsel to aid in the litigation of custody disputes. Because the court's order has such a profound effect on the lives of the parties and their children, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of presenting sufficient evidence and developing an adequate record.

To discuss this further please contact me. For more on information on custody or relocation disputes, see all custody blog entries here.

New pages added to blog

This is a posting to direct your attention to some new pages added to the blog.

There is a separate page devoted to real estate and housing resources. If you are looking for temporary furnished housing there are some links that might be helpful. Also, the links to the county assessor's offices, MIBOR and sales information can be helpful if you are looking to purchase or sell a home.

There is a separate page with links to the school data. Especially in relocation cases, school comparison's are important.

There are also separate pages with video resources and author contact information.

The pages are seen as "tabs" along the top of the blog, just under the title.

The review or transmission of information at this site is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Should you be seeking legal advice, I recommend you retain an attorney. Please contact me  here.