What Is a Father's Rights When the Mother & Child Move Out of State?

By Mike Broemmel

Updated December 05, 2018

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A father without custody of his child possesses certain rights before and after the minor moves from the state with her mother, according to "Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce" by Emily Doskow. In advance of such a move, the father is entitled to a hearing to express his position regarding the mother taking the child out of state. If the court approves the mother's desire to move out of the jurisdiction with the child, the judge establishes by order the rights of the father in light of the change in location.


The underlying rights extended to a non-custodial father when a child is taken from the state serve several functions. Chief amongst these functions is to ensure that the father maintains every opportunity to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with his son or daughter, regardless of the physical distance, according to the American Bar Association Section of Family Law.

Extended Physical Visitation

Due to the distance, in most cases where a child moves out of state with his mother, a court awards the father extended visitation periods, according to the ABA Family Law Guide. Frequent, shorter visitations tend to be impractical for a father when a mother and child relocate to a different state. Therefore, a father likely receives two to three extended visitation periods at different times during the course of the year.

Cyber Visitation

A growing number of jurisdictions recognize cyber visitation. Courts in these locales extend to the father the right to engage in visitation with his child using the resources of the Internet. A judge schedules specific cyber visitation times in the same manner as physical parenting time. Due to the ease with which cyber visitation can be undertaken, a judge likely provides for this type of parenting time between a father and out-of-state child at least a couple of times during the course of a week.


Despite the physical distance between father and child, the father retains the right to access information about his son or daughter. For example, a father must be provided school and medical record as well as other significant information pertaining to the life, activities and welfare of his child.


Enforcing a father's rights when a child relocates to another state becomes more complex than if the child and father remain in the same judicial jurisdiction. Generally speaking, the court with jurisdiction over matters concerning a child is the court in the location where the child physically resides. Therefore, a father needing to enforce his rights likely needs to pursue a case out of state and where his son or daughter happens to be residing.