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

Relocation attorneys serve Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan 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 an office in Oakdale, Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. serves clients throughout Minnesota including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. Call 651-379-3024 to arrange an appointment or contact us online. Flexible scheduling is available.

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Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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