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Relocating After a Missouri Divorce

Divorce is a major life-altering change and oftentimes 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 to simply be closer to a stronger 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 advance written notice by certified mail prior to relocating a child’s residence.

Notice of Relocation

When providing notice to the other parent, certain key points must be included:

  • Pertinent information regarding the new residence, 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 date of the intended move.
  • A brief statement that explains the specific reasons for the relocation of the child.
  • A revised custody and visitation schedule proposal.

Additionally, the party that is 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, the court will consider a failure to provide notice of a child as:

  • A factor in determining if custody and visitation should be modified.
  • A basis for ordering the return of the child if a relocation were to occur without the requisite notice.
  • Sufficient cause to order the parent who wishes to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorney fees that were incurred by the other parent.

The Burden of Proof

If the party seeking relocation provides notice, the non-relocating parent also has the opportunity to file a motion with the court to prevent it. However, the motion must be filed within the time limitations set forth 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 best interests of the child.

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 wellbeing of the relocating parent might be at risk if such information were disclosed And the court may order:

  • The specific residence address or telephone number may not be disclosed;
  • The notice requirements may be waived to the extent necessary to protect the health or safety of a child or an adult; or
  • Any other remedial action necessary to facilitate the needs of the parties and the best interest of the child.

Family Law Attorneys in Missouri

If you are interested in seeking 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 over three decades 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.

Get the help you need and contact our law office at (636) 552-4841 to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you.