Changes to Indiana’s Relocation Statutes

Moving soon? Wondering what you need to do to stay compliant with Indiana’s Relocation Rules?

As of July 1, 2019, Indiana revised I.C.31-17-2.2 the Notification of Intent to Relocate statute.  Who is required to file?  Any individual who is moving their principal residence and has or is seeking custody, parenting time, and/or grandparent visitation with a child.  It is important to note that custody and/or parenting time need not be ordered by a court for this statute to apply.  Notice is also required if the parties have properly executed a paternity affidavit pursuant to I.C. 16-37-2-2.1.  Therefore, if the parties executed the paternity affidavit (1) not more than seventy-two (72) hours after the child’s birth at a hospital, or (2) at a local health department before the age of emancipation, they must file the notice of intent to relocate with the court and serve the other party.

There are several steps that you need to follow if you are intending to relocate.  Pursuant to I.C. 31-17-2.2-1 you must file your Notice of Intent to Relocate with the clerk of the court that issued the custody order or parenting time order or has jurisdiction over the legal proceedings concerning the custody of or parenting time with a child.  IC 31-17-2.2-3 states that the relocating individual shall file their notice of intent to relocate with the court and notify the nonrelocating individual not later than 30 days before the date of the intended relocation, or not more than 14 days after the relocating individual becomes aware of the relocation, whichever is sooner.

A Notice of Intent to Relocate is not required if the relocation has been addressed by a prior court order relieving the parties of the requirement to file a notice; and (1) will result in either a decrease in distance between the relocating and nonrelocating individual, or (2) will result in an increase of not more than 20 miles in the distance between the relocating individual’s residence and the nonrelocating individual’s residence; and the child will remain in the child’s current school.

IC 31-17-2.2-3(3) states that a Notice of Intent to Relocate must provide the following information in the notice:

(A) The intended new residence, including the:

(i) address; and

(ii) mailing address of the relocating individual, if different.

(B) All telephone numbers for the relocating individual.

(C) The date that the relocating individual intends to move.

(D) A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the child.

(E) A statement that the relocating individual either does or does not believe that a revision of parenting time or grandparent visitation is necessary.

(F) A statement that a nonrelocating parent must file a response regarding the relocation of the child with the court not later than twenty (20) days after service of the notice.

(G) The following statements:

(i) A statement that a party may file a petition requesting an order to prevent the temporary or permanent relocation of a child.

(ii) A statement that a nonrelocating individual may file a petition to modify a custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order.

(H) A statement that all existing orders for custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and child support remain in effect until modified by the court.

As soon as you receive notice that the other party intends to relocate, the clock starts ticking.  Under the revised statutes, a response to the relocation must be filed.  Once the notice is received, the nonrelocating individual has 20 days to file a response.  The non-relocating individual’s response must include one of the following:

  1. That the nonrelocating individual (a) does not object to the relocation of the child, and (b) does not request the modification of any custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and/or child support order
  2. That the nonrelocating individual (a) objects to the relocation of the child; (b) a request the court modify any custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and/or child support order as a result of the relocation; and (c) a request for a hearing.
  3. A statement the nonrelocating individual (a) objects to the relocation of the child; (b) a request for a temporary or permanent order to prevent the relocation of the child; (c) a request to modify any custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and/or child support order; and (d) a request for a hearing.

If the nonrelocating parent objects, the response must indicate whether the parties have participated in mediation or another alternate dispute resolution process regarding the relocation of the child.

A nonrelocating individual may not be required to file a response if the parties have executed and filed with the court a written agreement resolving all issues related to custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and/or child support resulting from the relocation of the child.   If the parties reach an agreement it must include a child support worksheet to be signed by the parties and attached to the agreement, if the agreement results in a modification of support.

Either party can request that the Court hold a full evidentiary hearing to grant or deny a relocation motion.  It is the responsibility of the individual who is relocating to prove to the Court that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason.  If the relocating parent can adequately prove to the Court that the move is in good faith and for a legitimate reason, the burden of proof then shifts to the nonrelocating individual to show that the relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

It is important to note that a Court may issue a temporary order permitting the child to relocate or restrain the relocation of the child.  IC 31-17-2.2-6 states as follows:

(a) If a nonrelocating parent files a motion under section 5(a)(3) of this chapter, the court, after notice and an opportunity to be heard or after compliance with Trial Rule 65(B), may grant a temporary order restraining the relocation of a child or order the child to be returned to the nonrelocating parent if the court finds:

(1)  that the notice required under section 3 of this chapter was not served in a timely manner and the parties have not presented an agreement regarding the relocation of the child;

(2)  that the child has been relocated without:

(A) the appropriate notice;

(B) an agreement between the parties; or

(C) a court order; or

(3) from an examination of the evidence presented at the temporary hearing, that there is a likelihood that, after a final hearing, the court will not approve the relocation of the child.

(b) The court may grant a temporary order permitting the relocation of the child pending a final hearing if the court:

(1)  determines that the notice required under section 3 of this chapter was provided in a timely manner;

(2)  issues orders that may be necessary for temporary custody, parenting time, support, and grandparent visitation with the child; and

(3)  reviews the evidence presented at the temporary hearing and determines that there is a likelihood that, after the final hearing, the court will approve the relocation of the child.

(c) If the court issues a temporary order authorizing the relocation of the child in its final judgment, the court must consider factors (1) other than; or (2) in addition to the temporary relocation of the child when issuing a final order.

This means that the Court can issue a temporary order, but no final order will be issued until the conclusion of the full evidentiary hearing.

This post is intended to provide general information on the requirements of the relocation statute.  If you need assistance with filing or responding to a Notice of Intent to Relocate, please contact the experienced attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC at (317) 870-0019 or email us at info@banksbrower.com for a free initial consultation to determine how we can help.