In a previous post, I outlined that to modify physical custody the parent seeking a change must show a material change in circumstance, that adversely affects the child, and it’s in the child’s best interest to change custody. Unlike most states, such a move by itself does not constitute a material change in circumstances in Mississippi.
Parents have tried to deal with this situation by including provisions in their divorce judgment that require the parties to live in a particular area and others have agreed that a move by the custodial parent would automatically trigger a custody change. Both provisions have been held to be unenforceable by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
So, is there no hope for the parent not moving? First, If the parents have joint physical custody a move of any significant distance by either party will be a material change in circumstances requiring a modification. Because joint physical custody requires that the parents live in close physical proximity.
Second, even if it is a custody/visitation situation the non-custodial parent may prevail if they can prove the relocation plus “other factors” combined to prove a material change in circumstances. Some other factors may include separating siblings, child’s choice and living condition of the new home. Keep in mind that the party seeking to change must also prove adverse effect and best interest of the child to prevail.
Modifying physical custody is a complex legal process, and it is advisable to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney in Mississippi. I can assess your case, gather evidence, represent you in court, and protect your child’s best interests throughout the process. Please contact my office at 601-825-3124 to set up an initial consultation.