When one parent wants to move out of state, with the children, a dispute often erupts because of the other parent's opposition to such a big change for the kids. In most states, if a parent wants to move the residence of the children to another state, the burden of proving the merits of the move to the court lies with the parenting desiring to move.
Until recently, Minnesota was in the minority: making the non-moving parent prove that the move is a BAD idea. Legislation in 2006 brought Minnesota in line with the majority of jurisdictions, placing the burden of proof on the parent petitioning to change the children's state of residence.
The fact is, in many cases, the difference in the laws does not make a difference in the outcome of the case. Many proposed moves would be approved by the court, regardless of which parent has the burden of proof. Conversely, many proposed moves would be denied, either way. However, if each parent has a solid basis for their position on the issue, and the case is a "close call," the change in law can have an impact on whether or not the children are allowed to move.
When parenting neutrals are appointed to make recommendations on out-of-state moves, they are required to base their recommendations on what is in the child's best interests (not on what might be in the best interests of one of the parents). Under the previous law, the parenting neutrals would consider primarily whether there were drawbacks to the move and whether the purpose of the move was to interfere with the other parent's relationship with the child. Now, the focus is on whether the move is compelling enough, from the standpoint of the child, to be worth the upheaval involved in the move.
Another recent development is the court order that makes a parent's custody conditional on the parent remaining in Minnesota. A parent is free to move where they please, but that does not go for the child too. There is a growing incidence of the court awarding custody of the children to one of the parents, subject to the provision that if that parent decides to move out of Minnesota, custody would be transferred to the parent remaining in Minnesota.