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Relocation - The Ins and Outs of Being Able To Move

It's that time of year. The time of year when all family law attorneys are flooded with relocation requests and parents wanting to move before school starts.

Under Missouri law you must give at least sixty (60) days notice in advance by certified mail of your intended request to relocate. In your notice you must specify where you want to move including any new address and phone number, the date you want to move, why you want to move, and how any existing custody schedule would be affected by your move. Then, the other parent has thirty (30) days to file an objection with the court if they are opposed to your move. If the other parent is opposed to your move then the court will determine whether or not your child may move with you. The court has no jurisdiction to determine whether you, the requesting parent may move but the court does have jurisdiction over the child with respect to determining who the minor child will live with and what custody schedule is appropriate. This means the court can decide that the minor child will live with the objecting parent should you decide to go ahead with your relocation in the absence of an agreement.

How hard is it to move? Missouri's relocation law is one of the strictest in the nation. This means that in general relocations are disfavored and not often granted to the parent wanting to move. What does the court consider? Quite frankly, the most important factor often considered by the court is the relationship that the non-moving parent will have with the child if the relocation is granted. In other words, will the non-moving parent still be able to attend parent teacher conferences, softball games, and go to school to eat lunch with their child? Missouri's relocation law is designed to protect the non-moving parent's right to casual, frequent contact with their child. If you are the moving parent you need to focus on showing the court how that relationship can be preserved and how the non-moving parent can still have as much parenting time as possible even with your move.