If you and your ex have shared custody of your children, you’ll need to involve them in any major decisions involving your children. If the courts have decided your ex has shared legal custody, it may be legally difficult to move away without their consent. You’ll first have to get the green light from the other parent or prove to a judge that moving away is in the best interest of the child.
Two Scenarios for Moving out of State with Children
If one parent has full custody, meaning they are the only parent with both physical and legal custody of their child, they can leave the state of Minnesota at any time without having to go to court or obtain the other parent’s permission.
However, if the non-custodial parent becomes aware of the move, they may try to prevent it by initiating a custody proceeding, which may prevent you from legally proceeding with your out-of-state move.
In the other scenario, both parents have parental rights. If your ex or the child’s parent has joint legal custody, even if you have sole physical custody, they will get a say. In this case, a parent wanting to move out of state with their child must do one of the following:
- Get written consent from the other parent and file the agreement with the court
- If that parent refuses to agree to the move, you can petition the court for approval
Ultimately, the court will decide if the move is in the best interest of the child.
How Do Minnesota Courts Decide the Child’s Best Interests?
Minnesota law uses the best interests of the child standard to rule on matters relating to custody and visitations. If the other parent objects to the move and you end up taking the legal route, the court will look at the following factors before making their decision:
- The child’s preference (assuming they’re old enough to have one)
- How the move will affect the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent
- Whether the moving parent wants to use the relocation as a means of keeping the child away from the other parent
- Why the other parent is opposing the move
- How the move will affect the child’s emotional, educational and physical development
Who Needs to Prove Their Case in Child Relocation?
If relocating the child out of state is being thwarted by the non-relocating parent, the parent who’s attempting to move must prove before a judge that the relocation is in the child’s best interests. Arguments may include things like better housing, education and childcare.
Perhaps you’re planning to move to another state to be closer to your family. Asking family members to testify on your behalf and explain how they will contribute to the child’s well-being can make a substantial difference in your case.
Showing the court that you’re willing to co-parent and even help with travel expenses may increase the likelihood of your request being granted. You can prove your willingness to cooperate with records of conversations, like texts, emails, etc.
There are situations where the burden of proof won’t lie with the moving parent. If the moving parent is a victim of domestic abuse perpetrated by the opposing parent, the latter will be responsible for proving why it’s in their child’s best interest to stay in Minnesota.
What Are My Chances of Moving?
A family law attorney may be able to shed light on your chances for success. The referral counselors at the Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service would be happy to help you find a family law attorney near you with experience in cases like yours.
Are You Seeking a Child Custody Lawyer in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area?
If you’re going through custody disputes pertaining to your child’s welfare or are facing other issues related to family law matters, the Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help you find representation.
Call us at (612) 752-6699 to schedule your free consultation.