Proving that Relocation Is Not in Your Children’s Best Interests
Because you and your spouse go your separate ways after divorce should not also separate you from your children. Fortunately, Minnesota laws agree. If your ex-spouse is the custodial parent and decides to move out of state, he or she must first get your permission or the court’s approval. If you withhold your permission, the court has the authority to decide.
The relocating parent bears the burden of proving that the move is in the children’s best interests. The non-relocating parent gets the opportunity to respond to the relocating parent's assertions and provide the court with their own evidence.
If challenging the relocating parent’s position, gather evidence that supports your claim that the children should stay where they are. The provisions of Minnesota Statute §518.175 that govern parenting time lists the factors the court must consider when rendering a relocation decision. These factors can guide you in gathering persuasive evidence. Among the factors outlined:
- Your involvement in your children’s lives — Do you coach any of your children’s teams? Do you volunteer at their schools? Do you share a love for fishing or museums or technology? Do you attend your children’s doctor appointments? Demonstrate your participation in your children’s education, sporting events, hobbies, interests, medical care and other aspects of their lives to show the court your commitment to their upbringing.
- Your children’s relationship with relatives and other significant persons — Testimony from siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends and other important persons who live near your current residence can be powerful proof that your children’s important familial bonds would be broken by the move.
- Effect on your children's physical, educational and emotional development — Would your children be leaving their friends, soccer team or theater group? Is your child in an enriching gifted program or a successful special needs program at school? Does your child thrive on routine that would be disrupted by a long-distance move? Provide evidence of the positive influences in your children’s current situation and how the move would deprive them of these valuable developmental opportunities.
Take action to protect your relationship with your children. A qualified Minnesota family law attorney can explain your rights and develop a strategic plan for successfully challenging the custodial parent’s proposed relocation.