In family law cases, a parent may petition the court for permission to relocate with a child out of state or internationally. In cases where a party seeks to relocate with a child, the Court will apply a different legal standard depending upon whether the relocation request is part of an initial custody determination or a request made after a final custody determination as been made.

In initial custody determinations, a proposal to relocate the residence of a child is simply one factor that the Court must consider in determining the best interests of a child. It is generally difficult to obtain permission to relocate depending upon the specific circumstances. The court will not grant permission for the other parent to relocate with the child if it appears that the relocation is intended to interfere with the parenting time of the non-relocating.

In post-decree cases, obtaining permission to relocate out of state can be more challenging in that the permanency of the original custody and parenting time determination has been established. The party seeking to relocate out of state has the burden of proof unless there has been a finding of domestic abuse.  The relocating parent must establish his or her case under a best interest analysis specific to relocation cases. This relocation best interests analysis has eight major factors for the court to consider which include:

  1. The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life
  2. The age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, education, and emotional development, taking into consideration special needs of the child
  3. The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating person and the child through suitable parenting time arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties
  4. The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child
  5. 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 nonrelocating person
  6. 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
  7. The reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation
  8. The effect on the safety and welfare of the child, or of the parent requesting to move the child’s residence, of domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01.

The trial court has broad discretion in determination whether to allow relocation and therefore, results in relocation cases remain difficult to predict. If you are facing a relocation issue, the attorneys at Arnold & Rodman PLLC can assist you in issues related to the relocation of a child’s residence either within Minnesota, out-of state, or internationally. For more information about relocation related cases please view out Relocation practice area page or contact our office a 952-955-8008 to set up an initial consultation.

Author: Michael Fink, Esq.

Source: Minnesota Statute section 518.175, Subd. 3, Move to another state., revisor.mn.gov