Divorce is a major life-altering change, and frequently it has a ripple effect on the lives of those involved, acting as an impetus for further change. For example, one party might want to relocate to another area, whether it be to begin a new career, seek better opportunities, or simply be closer to a more reliable support network. If you and your former spouse share children, the issue of moving can become quite complicated since it will undoubtedly have an impact on the child custody order that is in effect.
According to the Missouri relocation statute R.S.Mo. § 452.377, a parent is required to give the other parent 60 days written notice by certified mail before relocating a child's residence.
Notice of Relocation
When providing notice to the other parent, specific key points must be included:
- Pertinent information regarding the new location, including the address, mailing address, or, if this is not yet known, the city of the intended new residence.
- The home telephone number of the new residence.
- The intended moving date.
- A brief statement that explains the reasons for relocating with the child.
- A revised visitation or custody schedule proposal.
- A notice that the other parent has the right to file a motion preventing the relocation within thirty days of receiving the notice. If the other parent does file to prevent the relocation, they must provide a good-faith, factual basis for doing so.
Additionally, the party giving notice must also provide changes to the above information as soon as any become known.
Failing to Provide a Notice of Relocation
According to the State of Missouri, failing to provide notice will be considered by the court as:
- A factor in deciding if visitation and custody should be modified.
- A basis for ordering the child be returned if relocation were to occur without the requisite notice.
- Adequate cause to order the parent who wishes to relocate the child to pay attorney fees and expenses that were incurred by the other parent.
The Burden of Proof
If the party who wishes to relocate provides notice, the non-relocating parent can file a motion with the court to prevent it. However, the motion must be filed within the time limitations outlined in Section 452.377, after the receipt of the relocation notice and the motion must be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the specific factual basis why the relocation is insupportable. That said, the burden of proof lies with the relocating party when it comes to proving that the proposed move is in the child's best interests.
Furthermore, Section 452.377 provides a filing deadline for the relocating party to respond to the non-relocating party's objection to the move.
Under exceptional circumstances, the court might find that the health or safety of a child or the well-being of the relocating parent might be at risk if such information were disclosed. The court may order:
- The specific residence address or telephone number may not be disclosed;
- The notice requirements might be waived to protect the health or safety of a child or an adult; or
- Any other action necessary to address the needs of the parties and the child's best interests.
Family Law Attorneys in Missouri
If you wish to obtain a relocation, you will need an experienced family law attorney on your side to help you handle this complicated legal matter. At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., our attorney has 40 years of experience in assisting clients through a number of issues, including relocation. Do not risk the outcome of your case by attempting to handle this on your own.
Seek the help you need and contact our team at (636) 552-4841 to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you.