Moving Out of State – Minnesota Family Law
Custody and Parenting Time Issues Presented
Parents of children are faced with special challenges when one of the parties contemplates moving his or her residence outside the state of Minnesota. Particularly in the case of a move by the custodial parent, such a venture is fraught with pitfalls when the parent makes the move without regard for proper legal procedures. For a long time, the custodial parent was deemed to have the discretion for relocating with the children regardless of whether the noncustodial parent approved the move, unless the noncustodial parent could meet his or her initial burden of proving to the Court's satisfaction that relocating to another state constituted a bad faith attempt of the custodial parent to interference with the noncustodial parent's parental rights.
The law has since done a complete about-face, and Minn. Stat.§ 518.175 subdivision 3 now places the initial burden of proof squarely upon the custodial parent to establish that the out state relocation represents the best interests of the children according to a specific set of statutory criteria. Failure to observe statutory requirements could result in a court order directing the custodial parent's return to the state or even a motion for change in custody. A successful motion for permission to leave the state requires careful case planning and meticulous attention to the new statutory requirements.
When it is the noncustodial parenting who intends to move outside the state, a different set concerns warrant consideration. A father of two children, for example, may have rights of parenting time every other weekend from Friday to Sunday. His employment has been transferred to California and he is forced to go where his job is. Clearly, the noncustodial parent continues to possess the right to weekend access on alternating weeks, but the additional 1500 miles in distance from the custodial parent effectively forbids the noncustodial parent from exercising this right. In such circumstances, it becomes essential for that parent to request modification of parenting time in advance of the move to an arrangement appropriate to interstate exchanges of the children between the parents, including provisions for transportation of the children and allocation of the costs thereof.
I have handled numerous cases involving out state moves. And given the important issues at stake, I could not recommend more highly that parents seek the advice and assistance of legal counsel as far in advance of the move as possible.
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