Each divorce case will vary from one another. In some cases, a parent might want to move out of state with his or her children. But, the non-custodial parent may be opposed of this idea.

Typically, a child cannot be permanently relocated from his or her state of residence without approval from that court that gave the original custody order – unless the other parent consents. When parents agree to an out-of-state move, they should sign a written agreement reflecting that.

A counselor, or mediator, may be hired to help resolve any issues of both parents do not agree on the move. If mediation does not work, the custodial parent may file a petition, or motion, asking court to grant the request to move.

Under Minnesota law there are many factors the court must consider in determining the child’s best interest. They include, but are not limited to:

  • 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;
  • Who has been the child’s primary caregiver;
  • 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 the 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 of 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.

The court will typically make findings specific to each of the foregoing elements in issuing its order. Most of the time, an evidentiary hearing (trial) will be necessary in order for the court to receive the relevant evidence.