Custody Laws In Minnesota and Moves Out of State- Look Before You Leap!

Man woman movingNew employment, new relationships, job promotions, and financial opportunities may require a parent to move from the State of Minnesota.  When parents have a custody and parenting time arrangement, then moving with the children is not a simple matter if the non-moving parent does not agree to allow the children to move.

“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.” Minn. Stat. § 518.175, Subd. 3

Minnesota law requires that the move-away parent obtain a Court Order allowing that parent to move with the children from Minnesota. The move-away parent has the responsibility to obtain the Order through a Motion filed in the County where the last custody Order was filed. The move-away parent has the burden to show the Court that it is better for the children to move.

A move-away parent’s failure to obtain the Court’s permission via an Order opens the door for the non-moving parent to file an emergency Motion granting immediate custody pending a hearing. If the move-away parent left the State with the children without following procedure, then it is likely that the Court will order the children returned to Minnesota pending the hearing.

The Court will look to the best interests of the children in any move-away case. The best interests factors include, but are not limited, to the following:

1. the nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
2. who has been the child’s primary caregiver;
3. 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;
4. the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating person and the child through suitable parenting time arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties;
5. the child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
6. 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 non-relocating person;
7. 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;
8. the reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation; and
9. 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.

The Court will also look at the move-away parent’s underlying reasons for the requested move. A parent asking the Court to grant a Motion to move out of the State of Minnesota should be prepared to present testimony and evidence as follows:

Will the move result in a better quality of life for the children; for example, will new employment generate more income to allow more savings deposited into the children’s college funds.

To what degree does the non-moving parent exercise his or her parenting time; for example, the non-moving parent has every other week-end, but moving parent can document that non-moving parent frequently cancels his or her parenting time.

Are you as the moving parent willing to accommodate longer periods of time for the children to visit the non-moving parent; for example, a move to California may likely result in the children spending the majority of the summer in Minnesota with the non-moving parent.

Are you committed to doing everything you can to maintain the non-moving parent-child relationship? For example, will you Skype and support webcam visits; will you provide a quarterly CD of the children’s events and activities; will you support e-mail and snail mail contact; and, will you support frequent telephone contact?

Are the children’s extended family members in Minnesota? If so, what are your plans to keep extended family members in the children’s relationship circle?

As the moving parent, are you prepared to absorb the cost of transportation?

The Court will inquire and review the facts to determine if the moving parent is moving in an effort to restrict the non-moving parent’s time with the children. In other words, the moving parent should have a definitive reason for the move.

Minnesota law presumes that a parent shall have a minimum of 25% parenting time with the children. When parents live in different geographical areas the 25% parenting time requirement may be difficult to arrange. You must be prepared to show the Court that the non-moving parent will have at least the minimum 25% parenting time.

The foregoing is a general outline of some of the issues in a move away case. A decree that awards joint physical custody and sets out a 50/50% parenting time share is more difficult to overcome. Every case is unique because of the facts and circumstances specific to your case.

If your child is moved out of the State of Minnesota without your written permission or a Court Order, then you, as the non-moving parent, have a remedy in Court. Parents may agree to a move. I recommend, however, that any agreement between parents is reduced to a writing called a Stipulation and that the Court enter the Stipulation as an Order.

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

2 Responses to “Custody Laws In Minnesota and Moves Out of State- Look Before You Leap!”

  1. Very good write-up. I absolutely love this site.
    Keep writing!


  2. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me.



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