What can I do if my ex-spouse wants to relocate with our child?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

It is an expected, even desired outcome that couples with children who have gone through a divorce should be able to move on with their lives. Part of moving on after a divorce can involve the desire of a custodial parent to relocate and to retain custody; this can take place for different reasons, such as remarriage, or new employment.

Whenever the custodial parent plans to move, if the parties cannot reach an agreement (including a parenting plan) then the question arises as to what rights the non-custodial parent has, and the proper legal procedures for both parents to follow when resolving questions about the matter.

Missouri law requires that a custodial parent who wishes to relocate (defined as a change of residence for more than 90 days) provide formal notice to the non-custodial parent no less than 60 days before the planned move. Once this notice is given, the non-custodial parent then has 30 days to file a response to the notice if he or she opposes the move, and the custodial parent will then have further opportunity to respond to that answer.

It will be up to the court to decide if the custodial parent seeking to relocate has carried his or her burden of proof that the move is proposed in good faith and is in the best interest of the child. If this burden is met, the court will then draw up an order providing for continued contact with the child by the non-custodial parent.

Any failure of the custodial parent to abide by the notice requirements, or relocating with the child contrary to the law’s requirements, can trigger court intervention up to and including revisiting the custodial relationship.

There are several other considerations that must go into any planned relocation of a custodial parent and child. This post only addresses some of them. Parents who need to know more about relocation issues should consult with a family law attorney to make sure that their rights are properly protected.

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