Trying to relocate with your children after your divorce is a complicated process. In many cases, the other parent does not agree to the move.
If you are a divorced parent and need or want to relocate and intend to take your children with you, it will likely be a complicated, even impossible, process. When a Missouri court grants a divorce involving children, their priority is ensuring that the provisions in the divorce are in the children’s best interests. This typically means that both parents are granted joint legal and joint physical custody, which means they share decision-making authority.
At The Betz Law Firm, we have decades of experience in family law. Our firm’s goal is to assist families in need to navigate their way through those important, life-changing events. Whether it be a divorce, relocation issues, or questions of paternity, our team of compassionate lawyers will be at your side, offering our guidance and support.
Reasons You May Wish to Relocate
After a divorce, either parent may decide for one reason or another that it’s time to move on with their life, and sometimes this means actually moving. Some of the most common reasons parents wish to move away from the other co-parent include:
- A new job or job transfer
- A new relationship or marriage
- To be closer to relatives
- Better educational opportunities
Relocating With Your Child Within Missouri
If you want to move but stay within the state, there are several things you need to know. Under Missouri law, a court will only modify residential custody if it finds a change in the circumstances of the child or their custodian. When relocating a child’s primary residence, the court does not necessarily require modification as long as the parent follows the proper procedures.
The term relocation defined by state law “means a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of ninety days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence.” If a change of address is temporary and both parents agree, it is not considered a relocation. This would include traveling, studying abroad for a semester, attending summer camp, and other similar situations.
If the parent wants to relocate to a different part of the state, they must follow the procedure for relocating a child. The procedure for moving within the state is very similar to moving out of the state. These procedures include:
- At least 60 days of notice to the other parent
- The address and/or city of the new residence
- The date the move is planned
- A written statement explaining the reason for the move
- A proposed revision to the custody and visitation schedule
- A statement of the other parent’s right to file a motion to object
After the other parent receives the notice, they have 30 days from the date they receive it to object to the move. If both parents agree to a revised visitation and custody schedule, they can file it with the court and have it added to the custody order.
Relocating With Your Child Outside of Missouri
The procedure is primarily the same as relocating within Missouri. However, moving outside of Missouri could constitute a change of circumstances and provide grounds for modifying the custody decree. The other parent still has 30 days to object to the move.
Even if the other parent agrees, moving outside the state creates another set of issues. One challenge is that Missouri law does apply outside of the state. However, state and federal laws have provisions for enforcing child custody orders in other states or countries.
When the Other Parent Objects
This is the main challenge when it comes to relocating with your children. If the other parent objects, they have to file a motion with the court within 30 days of receiving the notice. The parent intending to move has 14 days to file a response.
Contact a Family Law Attorney in St. Louis
Trying to relocate with your children after your divorce is a complicated process. In many cases, the other parent does not agree to the move. However, every case is different. At The Betz Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of the laws surrounding relocation. Our firm’s goal is to assist families in need to navigate their way through those important, life-changing events. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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