After a divorce is finalized, many parents find themselves in a state of transition. A part of this transition may include a contemplated move to another state to secure employment, to move closer to family, or simply to get away from the stress of the divorce process. Attorneys at Clausen & Hassan have been asked on several occasions about whether a move out of Minnesota is allowed after a divorce is finalized. For example, many parents must relocate for work or have become involved in another relationship with a person who lives out of state.
Before moving out of Minnesota with a minor child, however, a parent must ask the Court for permission or have the written consent of the other parent who was awarded parenting time (visitation) as part of the divorce.
Not surprisingly, if the other parent does not agree to the move out of Minnesota, the Court will decide whether the contemplated move out of state is in the best interests of the minor child(ren).
Specifically, Minnesota law states as follows when it comes to a parent thinking about moving out of state:
(a) The parent with whom the child resides shall not move the residence of the child to another state except upon order of the court or with the consent of the other parent, if the other parent has been given parenting time by the decree. If the purpose of the move is to interfere with parenting time given to the other parent by the decree, the court shall not permit the child’s residence to be moved to another state.
(b) The court shall apply a best interests standard when considering the request of the parent with whom the child resides to move the child’s residence to another state. The factors the court must consider in determining the child’s best interests include, but are not limited to:
(1) the nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
(2) the age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration special needs of the child;
(3) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating person and the child through suitable parenting time arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties;
(4) the child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
(5) whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the person seeking the relocation either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the nonrelocating person;
(6) whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of the life for both the custodial parent seeking the relocation and the child including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity;
(7) the reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation; and
(8) the effect on the safety and welfare of the child, or of the parent requesting to move the child’s residence, of domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01.
Since a person must obtain the Court’s permission if the other party does not agree with the move out of state, the parent who seeks to move out of state must obtain a Court Order. On the other hand, if the parent moves out of state without written permission from the other parent or without obtaining a Court Order, the other parent can bring a motion for relief. In such a case, a Court may order the other parent who moved out of state to return the minor child(ren) to Minnesota so a revised custody/parenting time determination can be made.
If you are contemplating a move out of Minnesota with a minor child(ren), it is important to speak with an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer. Contact our family law attorneys today for a free consultation about your specific situation, such ones about child custody in Minnesota.