Whether for work, to be near family, or just to get away from all the snow, people occasionally consider leaving Minnesota for another state. While any move can involve difficulties, when you are a divorced parent doing so becomes even more challenging. If the other parent has parenting time with the children, you can only move to another state with that parent’s consent or by order of the court. Moving the children without such consent or a court order is a VERY bad idea; the court could order you to move back or potentially change custody.
If the other parent does not agree, you feel that moving out of state is necessary, and you want your children to move with you, you will need to bring a motion to allow you to do so. Minnesota law places the burden of proving that such a move is in the best interests of the children directly on the parent who desires to relocate, unless that parent has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other parent. There is a presumption that it is best for the children to spend time with both parents and if the court determines that the purpose of the move is to interfere with the other parent’s parenting time, it will NOT allow the move.
There are, of course, times when a parent truly needs to relocate; for example, a job transfer may require moving elsewhere. In such cases, it may be necessary to ask the court to allow the children to go with you. In making its decision, the court will consider a number of statutory factors, including the following:
1. The nature and quality of the children’s relationship with the parent who wishes to relocate, as well as with the parent who will remain in Minnesota and with other significant people in the children’s lives, such as siblings, grandparents, and other relatives;
2. The age and needs of the children and the potential impact of relocation on their physical, educational, and emotional development;
3. The likelihood of preserving the relationship between the children and the parent who stays in Minnesota, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parents (in other words, how difficult would it be for either the children or the parent who stays to travel to see one another, and can the parties afford such travel);
4. The preferences of the children, if old enough;
5. Whether the parent seeking the move has previously encouraged or attempted to hinder the relationship between the other parent and the children;
6. Whether there will be financial, emotional, or educational benefits of relocating for both the parent seeking the move and for the children;
7. The reasons that each parent seeks or opposes relocation; and
8. If domestic abuse has occurred, the effect of relocation on the safety and welfare of both the children and the parent seeking to move.
If you are considering a move out of Minnesota with your children, or are seeking to prevent the other parent from moving out of state, contact Kruse Family Law via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 612.231.9865, to discuss your options.