Can my ex move out of state with our kids?

We live in a very mobile society.  People move out of state for new jobs, to attend school, to relocate with a new spouse or to be closer to family.  What if an ex does not agree the children should move too?

Parents who have a previous divorce Decree or custody order are subject to Minnesota Statute Section 518.175, subdivision 3, which states:

The parent with whom the child resides shall not move the residence of the child to another state except upon order of the court or with the consent of the other parent, if the other parent has been given parenting time by the decree. If the purpose of the move is to interfere with parenting time given to the other parent by the decree, the court shall not permit the child’s residence to be moved to another state.

The court shall apply a best interests standard when considering the request of the parent with whom the child resides to move the child’s residence to another state. The factors the court must consider in determining the child’s best interests include, but are not limited to:

(1) the nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;

(2) the age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration special needs of the child;

(3) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating person and the child through suitable parenting time arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties;

(4) the child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;

(5) whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the person seeking the relocation either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the nonrelocating person;

(6) whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of the life for both the custodial parent seeking the relocation and the child including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity;

(7) the reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation; and

(8) the effect on the safety and welfare of the child, or of the parent requesting to move the child’s residence, of domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01.

The burden of proof is upon the parent requesting to move the residence of the child to another state, except that if the court finds that the person requesting permission to move has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other parent, the burden of proof is upon the parent opposing the move. The court must consider all of the factors in this subdivision in determining the best interests of the child.

A parent who has not been to court previously involving their kids should immediately consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn about his or her legal options as soon as possible.

Parents with a prior family court Order and divorce Decree should speak with an experienced family law attorney to consider options as well because some parents may move despite what the Order or Decree says.

Jessica Sterle