When you decide relocate you and your family across state lines, you already know to expect some things to change. We know there will be new grocery stores, new parks, different shopping areas, and plenty of new faces. That is part of the charm and appeal of building a new hometown; all of the new people and experiences you will get to have. However, some of the grittier parts of crossing into another states' territory can be challenging and it’s important to do your research before taking the plunge.
Laws and Regulations
While we all live under the protection and guidelines of the federal government, our local government and authorities play a much bigger role in our everyday lives. Some of the laws that you are accustomed to following might actually change once you cross over into another territory. For example, it is important to be aware of any new vehicle laws such as registering your car properly, local driving laws, or any towing or vehicle restrictions. However, it is also important to be aware of some of the more frivolous seeming laws, such as, in Arkansas, it is illegal to sound your horn at a business that sells cold drinks or sandwiches after 9pm. Or in Arizona, where it is illegal to spit on any public building, park, sidewalk, or road otherwise you will face a fine up to $2,500 dollars or 6 months in jail. (So stay away from there if you have overactive salivary glands.)
All jokes aside, there are plenty of laws that are important to consider especially if you are in the habit of handling animals, guns, vehicles, or heavy equipment. You want to be sure to have all your ducks in a row and know which laws you will need to abide by in order to keep those ducks safe and sound.
As the saying goes, there’s only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. However, if you’ve spent your whole life living in one area you might be surprised to find that even taxes can change. Each state has its own regulations and guidelines on personal income, property, and sales tax. In an article published by Turbo Tax citing the highest and lowest taxed states in the nation, they stated that there are 7 states in the US that do not have a personal income state tax, including Washington, Texas, Nevada, Florida, and Alaska. Meanwhile states such as Vermont, Oregon, Minnesota, and Iowa have personal income tax rates around 9%, with California soaring to the top of the list with a whopping 13%. Similarly, there are 5 states that do not have statewide sales tax, but of these states, Minnesota and Alaska do allow local towns to enforce their own if they wish. Other taxes, such as property tax, are supervised and regulated by local counties and are often based on the area you’re moving into.
With all that said, be sure to know which tax changes will affect you and prepare for those additional or changing costs. Between death and taxes, at least we know when to expect the latter so it can't sneak up on us.
Most school districts follow the same federal guidelines to allow students into their schools, but some have special regulations such as required vaccinations or specialized testing. Make sure you know what your new school district requires before you sever ties with your old hometown and leave all that information behind. Even just securing vaccination records and previous test scores can make the transition much smoother and easier on your new school administrator.
Additionally, it can be daunting to pull your children out of a school that they’ve established themselves in and place them in a totally new one that neither of you have ever seen. Not to mention if you have more than one to choose from. Luckily, we live in an age of technology and availability, so use it to your advantage.
Every school has a group of Facebook moms waiting to spill every detail about which teachers are the best and which classes to avoid, so reach out and find the ones that suit you. If arts are important to you, call the local theatres and galleries and find out which schools and programs they would recommend you send your child to. If sports are something you care about, check out the school’s webpage and see who the coaches are and how many different sports they offer, along with how many championship wins or losses they may have. There are many ways of telling which schools will be right for your child(ren) without having to set foot inside one.
Lastly, make sure you are aware of whichever school zone you are moving into and whether or not you will have to put in for a transfer if you aren’t living within the zone of the school you love. Sometimes, school districts can be pretty strict about which students they let do this, but it is definitely worth a few phones calls and forms if you can get your kids into the school that would suit them best. And the best part is, you can do pretty much all that over the phone.
Moving across country, or even just over the state line, can seem like stepping into a whole new world of laws, regulations, and customs. But if you take the time to educate yourself beforehand, you will be prepared and ready to take on any new adventure that comes your way. And the best part is, you’ll do it all legally.