Moving Children Within the State

Posted by & filed under Custody.

Previous posts have addressed the issue of moving minor children outside of Minnesota, which requires either the consent of the other parent or permission of the family court.  That rule suggests that a parent residing with children in the Twin Cities can move the children to Warroad, Thief River Falls, or Duluth without consent or permission, but would not be allowed to move to Hudson or Somerset, Wisconsin.  Clearly it would make more sense to devise a rule that involves a mileage radius, rather that state lines.

But the fact is, for some families a small move has a huge impact, and for others a big move does not make much of a difference.  For instance, if a mom and a dad have a 50-50 custody arrangement, and one of the parents moves outside the school district, the change might result in the children bussing to and from one parent’s home every day instead of bussing to and from each parent’s home on that parent’s respective parenting days.  Conversely, if the children are primarily in the custody of a parent who resides in Minnesota, and the non-custodial parent resides in California, then the children’s relocation from Minnesota to Nevada will have minimal impact.

The law regarding a move out of state is really a technicality.  The practical reality is that any relocation that imposes on a parent’s co-parenting rights and responsibilities should be addressed by both parents in a neutral setting, such as mediation or a parenting neutral.  That way, the situation will not erupt into a courtroom battle.  If the proposed change happens, all of the family members need to be on board with the change.  Otherwise, it is likely only a matter of time before new disputes will arise.  Any co-parenting arrangement can survive the impact of a change if the parents and the children address the proposed change with an open mind.

One of most common factors regarding a proposed move for children is whether it impacts where the children attend school.  Family court judges and custody professionals tend to lean in favor of children attending the same school as before, unless both parents agree to a different school.  Preserving the children’s attendance at the same school, or school district, as in previous years is not a dispositive factor, but if a relocation involves changing schools, it will typically require a relatively compelling basis that pertains to other aspects of the children’s interests to swing in favor of the change.

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