Missouri child custody: Relocating with kids after a divorce

There is more to moving for custodial parents than just packing up and leaving, they must get permission to relocate out of the state with their kids.

Following a divorce, people may choose to move way from Missouri for new employment opportunities, to be closer to family or to get a fresh start. For parents, however, there is more to relocating than just packing some boxes, loading a truck and hitting the road. When people share custody of their children, they must seek permission in order to move.

Providing notice of relocation

When custodial parents plan to leave the state with their children for more than 90 days, they must obtain permission from their kids' noncustodial parents. To this end, they must provide notice of the proposed move at least 60 days ahead of when they plan to relocate. This notice should include the new residence's specific and mailing address, the new residence's home telephone number and a proposal for a revised custody or visitation schedule. Parents should also provide a brief statement of the reasoning for the proposed relocation.

Getting permission to move

Sometimes, both parents may agree to the proposed move and the revised custody and visitation arrangement. In such cases, they may submit a written and signed affidavit, specifying the terms of their revised agreement. The court may then issue an order enacting the custody and visitation modification and approving the move without holding a hearing.

Court allowed relocation

Noncustodial parents do not always agree with custodial parents' desire to move out of the state with their children. As such, they may choose to file a motion requesting the relocation be prevented. Such motions must be filed within 30 days of receiving the notice of the proposed move, and should include facts that support their reasoning for not allowing the relocation. The custodial parents then have 14 days to file a response detailing facts supporting the proposed relocation.

In cases when parents cannot agree on a proposed move out of the state, they are encouraged to work together to achieve a resolution or to settle the matter in accordance with the dispute resolution section of their parenting plan. Should they still be unable to agree, the final decision may fall to the court.

Best interests of the child

When deciding whether to allow a custodial parent to move out of the state with their child, the court may consider numerous factors. Perhaps carrying the heaviest weight of these is if the relocation is in the best interests of the child. To make this determination, the court may take many aspects of the case into consideration, including the following:

· The needs of the child

· The child's interrelationships with those involved

· The mental and physical health of the child and both parents

· The child's wishes

· If the child will be able to continue meaningful contact with the noncustodial parent

Additionally, the court looks at the custodial parents' reasoning for wanting to move, as well as the noncustodial parents' reasons for denying the request.

Working with an attorney

Even when parents agree on a proposed relocation, navigating the legal process may be challenging. Therefore, those who are considering a move out of the state with their kids may benefit from seeking legal guidance. A lawyer may help them understand their rights, as well as their legal obligations.