Moving a child out of state

After a divorce or custody proceeding, parents often wonder if they will ever be allowed to move out of state with their minor child. Sometimes job or other life changes lead a parent to contemplate moving out of state. However, in Minnesota, if the other parent has been granted parenting time in a prior order, then moving out of state may not be possible unless: 1) you obtain a court order allowing you to move, or, 2) you obtain the consent of the other party. If the other parent refuses to consent to a move, then a court will need to decide based on the following factors, found in Minnesota Statute 518.175, whether or not a move is in the child’s best interest:

(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.

Particularly when the move is precipitated by a significantly better job opportunity, then it may still be possible to convince a court that the planned move should be allowed. An experienced attorney can assist you in presenting the best argument to the court for your particular situation.

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