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We See The Big Picture In Family Law

Can one parent move away with their children post-divorce? 

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Child Custody |

Divorces in Minnesota involve major changes for a family unit. Parents generally begin living separately and sharing responsibility for the children. Everybody’s daily schedules will likely change, and both parents need to begin rebuilding their personal and financial lives afterward.

Occasionally, those moving on after a divorce will need to make other big changes. For example, they might decide to relocate with the children. Any significant change to living arrangements will also impact custody arrangements.

Can one parent unilaterally decide to move with the children after a divorce?

The destination determines whether the move is possible

In Minnesota, there are two different sets of rules for parental relocation cases. Although Minnesota is a very large state, a parent does not usually need approval from the courts or the other parent to move somewhere else within the state. Even if they move an hour and a half away, they could make that decision on their own if they are the one who has more custodial time with the children. However, if the relocation will take someone out of Minnesota, then the rules that apply change.

An out-of-state move requires the approval of either the other parent or the Minnesota family courts. A co-parent may sometimes agree that a relocation is a good idea if it could reconnect the children with their extended family members, allow them to attend a better school district or offer the custodial parent better economic opportunities. If they do not agree to the move, they must submit notice to the courts about their opposition to it.

At that point, the family courts should schedule a hearing. A judge hears the case and determines whether the move would be in the best interests of the children. They can then modify the custody order to reflect their determination in the matter. Even when one parent relocates quite far from the other, it may still be possible to preserve parenting time for the parent not relocating. A judge giving them more time with the children during school breaks and summer vacations is a way to preserve a relatively equitable breakdown of parenting time after a relocation.

Learning about Minnesota’s rules for the most contentious family law matters can help people determine the best way to handle a relocation request. Seeking legal guidance in the face of such challenges is generally wise, given the stakes of the situation at hand.



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