As a divorced parent, you are subject to certain rules and behaviors, as outlined in your divorce decree. That decree is a legal document detailing such parental matters as child support and custody and visitation arrangements. Missouri law also covers the matter of relocating your child after a divorce. You will be prevented from doing so without going through the proper procedure in the courts. The definitions, rules, and procedure for relocation of a child after your marriage has been dissolved is covered under Missouri Statute Section 452.377. This blog will enlighten you on the important details of the law, its process, and why you need to adhere to the rules concerning it.
What Does Relocation Mean?
Generally, a relocation does not refer to a temporary move but to the change of a child’s principal residence for a period of 90 days or longer. When you want to move to another state due to a new and better job offer, or even a new residence within the same city, you will be relocating your child. In order to do so, you need to rigorously follow all the steps of the procedure, as laid out under the law.
Steps for Relocating with Children
You must give your ex-spouse 60 days advance notice of your need to relocate. Under Missouri Statute Section 452.377, the notice must include but is not limited to the following:
- The notice must be in writing
- It must be sent by certified mail with return receipt request
- It must be sent to anyone who has custody or visitation rights
- It must state the address of your intended new residence if you know it; otherwise, the city where you intend to reside
- It must state your new phone number, if you know it
- It must state the date you intend to relocate
- It must contain a short statement as to why the relocation is necessary
- It must contain a revised custody or visitation plan
- It must contain language stating that the other party has 30 days to file a Motion with the court if he or she wishes to oppose the relocation
As the party requesting relocation and giving notice, you are under obligation to provide information concerning your proposed new address and phone to your ex as you learn it. This is required unless you are under an Address Confidentiality Program that is designed to protect you as a victim of some type of family violence, such as assault, stalking, harassment, or other crimes.
Your Ex’s Right to Contest Relocation
After you have given notice to your ex regarding the relocation, he or she then has the 30-day timeframe to file a response with the court contesting the move. He or she will be required to provide reasons why the relocation should be prevented. After this objection has been filed, you as the relocating party will then have an additional 14 days to respond to the objection. You will have to demonstrate to the court why relocation is in the best interests of the child. In any actions or changes to a child’s life, family courts operate on the guiding principle of what will support the child’s best interests. That burden of proof will be on you. The dates for the deadlines are as of the date of this Blog being written and you need to seek legal advice on dates if you are planning to move to determine whether the deadlines have changed.
Why It’s Vital to Follow the Rules
Following the above procedure is critical if you wish to succeed. Violating the procedure could lead to what the court deems a change in circumstances that would allow it to modify your custody or visitation decree. That might be an unfavorable modification for you. So, the rule of thumb is to proceed safely according to the above rules, which are generally strictly enforced.
At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., we represent parties on both sides of the relocation issue. Since our firm has practiced family law for decades, we are well-versed in this field and in how the local courts operate on this matter.
Contact us at (636) 552-4841 or through our online form to discuss your relocation issue today.