Washington County Family Law Firm Guides Parents Through the Relocation Process in Minnesota

Relocation attorneys serve Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

At some point after your divorce, you or your spouse may want move from Minnesota. If you are a custodial parent, however, your options for relocating may be limited if the other parent objects to your move. If you are the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent's relocation could jeopardize your parenting time with your child. In either situation, the attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. can help. We are experienced in resolving a wide range of family law disputes, including child-relocation issues.

Minnesota law on parent-child relocation

Under Minnesota law, a custodial parent cannot move with the child to another state without court permission or the consent of the noncustodial parent, if the noncustodial parent was awarded parenting time (visitation). Failure to obtain consent or court approval could result in a change of child custody.

If the custodial parent asks the court for permission to move despite the objections of the noncustodial parent, the court must make its decision based on what serves the best interests of the child.

The parent requesting the relocation bears the burden of proving that the move is in the child’s best interests, unless the custodial parent has been the victim of domestic violence by the noncustodial parent. In that case, the burden of proof shifts to the noncustodial parent to prove relocation is not in the child’s best interests.

A court will not give a custodial parent permission to move if the court determines that the purpose of the move is to interfere with the noncustodial parent’s parenting time.

Many factors influence a court’s decision whether to allow a custodial parent to move out of state

Minnesota law specifies a number of factors that courts must consider when deciding whether to allow a custodial parent to relocate with a child to another state after a divorce, including:

  • The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationships with the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent, siblings and other significant people in the child’s life
  • The age of the child
  • The developmental stage of the child
  • Other needs of the child
  • The likely impact a relocation would have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development
  • The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent 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 custodial parent seeking to relocate either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the noncustodial parent
  • Whether the relocation is expected to enhance the general quality of life for the child and the custodial parent seeking permission to relocate, including financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities
  • The reasons of each parent for seeking or opposing the move
  • The expected effect on the safety and welfare of the child or of the custodial parent in respect to domestic abuse

When can a custodial parent relocate?

A custodial parent may move at any time with the noncustodial parent's written consent. If your divorce decree does not include a locale restriction as a condition of retaining custody, you may be permitted to move anywhere in Minnesota without a court order or the noncustodial parent's consent. It is prudent, however, for a custodial parent to consult an attorney before moving anywhere. When relocation is an issue after your divorce, the family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. can advise you of your options, whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent.

Call today for a free consultation with a parental relocation attorney

With offices in Oakdale and Braham, Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. serves clients throughout Minnesota including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. Call 651.760.7524 to arrange an appointment or contact us online. Flexible scheduling is available.