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Can my ex-spouse move out of state with the kids without my permission?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Child Custody

It can be incredibly difficult when divorced parents don’t get equal time with the children. The situation becomes infinitely worse when the parent with custody of the children decides to move with them to a different state for work, family, or another reason.  If this is happening to you, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to stop your ex-spouse from taking the kids out of state.

Statutory limitation on child relocation

If you have joint custody of your children, or if your ex-spouse has full custody and you have court-appointed visitation rights, your spouse cannot simply move with the children. If they tried, they would be in violation of the court’s order, and they could face serious consequences.

Minnesota law requires your ex-spouse to give you timely notice of their intent to move, and seek permission from the court. If you don’t want to sign off on the move, you have the opportunity to challenge it in court.

Grounds for permitting the move

The court will first examine your ex-spouse’s reason for wanting to move. If the purpose is primarily to make it harder for you to get your visitation, the court will immediately prohibit the move – since that would be a violation of your rights to visit your children, in addition to a violation of your children’s rights to have a relationship with you.

Otherwise, the court will take the best interest of your children in consideration when deciding whether to permit the move or not. They will consider how beneficial the move will be for the children, and contrast it with how difficult it would be for you to visit your children and maintain a healthy relationship with them.

If they determine that the move would ultimately be detrimental to the child, the court might prohibit the move – or they might possibly revisit your custody arrangement.

Divorces are notoriously difficult for children. Fortunately, Minnesota law gives you the power to fight to maintain a constant and regular relationship with your children, even if your ex-spouse decides that they want to move to a different state.

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