A parent in Minnesota can choose to move out of Minnesota with their child for many reasons. These might include a new career, a new significant other, or a desire to live closer to other family members. No matter what the reason for the relocation, there are important legal steps that a parent must take before removing their child from Minnesota.
Minnesota Child Relocation Step One
First, it is necessary to know the legal relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child. If the non-relocating parent has parenting time, or visitation, with the child, the child may not be moved out of state without the agreement of the non-relocating parent or a court order.
If the non-relocating parent does not have parenting time with the child, no permission or court order is needed to move the child out of state. Mothers of children born outside of marriage where no custody or parenting time order is issued, do not need the father’s permission or a court order to move out of state.
Minnesota Child Relocation Step Two
If there is a legal relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child that requires the non-relocating parent’s agreement or a court order allowing relocation, the relocating parent should first seek permission from the non-relocating parent. While there is no set time-frame for giving this notice, it is best to notify the non-relocating parent in writing as soon as possible.
Written notice of the relocation should include where the relocating parent is moving to and the reasons for the relocation unless notifying the non-relocating parent could bring harm to the relocating parent and child. In this case, the local district court can be contacted for assistance.
If the parents of the child agree to the move, their agreement is written and filed with the court.
Once their agreement is filed with the court, the relocating parent can move away unless the non-relocating parent formally objects to the move by filing a motion in the district court.
Minnesota Child Relocation Step Three
Should the non-relocating parent object to the move and file a motion, the judge will look to the best interests of the child to decide whether to allow a child to move out-of-state with the parent. MN Stat. 518.175, subd 3. These are different best interest factors than in an initial custody determination.
The court schedules an evidentiary hearing where the relocating parent must prove to the judge that the move is in the best interests of the child and not for the purpose of interfering with the parenting time of the other parent.
There is an exception for relationships with a history of domestic violence, where the burden of proof shifts to the non-relocating parent to prove that the move is not in the child’s best interests.
The court considers the following list of factors when determining whether relocation is in a child’s best interests:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
- 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;
- Whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent seeking the relocation and the child including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity;
- The reasons for each person for seeking or opposing the relocation; and
- 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 Minnesota statutes.
After hearing testimony and reviewing any evidence, the judge will reach a decision about whether to allow the proposed child relocation.
Experienced Minnesota Child Relocation Attorneys Can Help
Minnesota child relocation is an undertaking that requires a step by step plan to help ensure a smoother process for yourself and your child. Working with an experienced child relocation attorney as soon as you are aware of a possible relocation can help avoid unexpected delays or dilemmas in advance of your move.
Never relocate without an agreement with the non-relocating parent or the permission of the court. This could result in setbacks or even sanctions, including an order to return the child to the state. The professionals at Perusse Nixon PLLC can help you put a relocation plan in place and be prepared in the event a court hearing is necessary.
Call Perusse Nixon PLLC today to schedule a consultation.