If you and your former spouse don’t have any mutual children, then a move out of Minnesota after a divorce should not create a problem.
As we outlined in our Minnesota Divorce Laws Basics article, when children are involved, things get more complicating. If you have a standing parenting time arrangement, a move out of Minnesota becomes a much trickier proposition. After all, the courts typically want to do everything in their power to ensure that children get time with both parents, and there’s no denying that out-of-state moves can make this goal harder to attain.
That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for you to move. It just means that moving isn’t as simple as packing your bags, especially if you’re the parent with physical custody of your children and you are proposing to move them away from the other parent.
If you wish to move you will need one of two things: either the agreement of your ex (in writing) or a court order granting you permission to go. If you have to take the matter to court you will need to be prepared to show that your move would be in the child’s best interests.
It may be easy to show that the move is positive if you’re moving to take a new job that will significantly increase your income. It’s quite a bit harder if you’re going to take a minimum wage job so that you can be closer to family members, friends, or love interests. The court will not allow you to move if it suspects you’re moving for the sole purpose of depriving your ex of a relationship with your children.
Don’t imagine, though, that a “good job” gives you a free pass. The courts take many factors into account when evaluating relocations, including:
- The nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child’s relationship with you, your spouse, and other significant people in your child’s life.
- The age and developmental stage of your child.
- The impact of the relocation on your child’s physical, emotional, and educational development.
- Logistics and financial circumstances of both parties which might impact the feasibility of preserving the relationship between your child and your ex.
- The preferences of your child, particularly if your child is older.
- Established patterns: have you sought relocation before, and what was the purpose of those relocations?
- Have you typically worked to promote the relationship between your ex and your child, or have you worked to thwart it?
- Whether the relocation will enhance the quality of life for you and your child.
- Your reasons for seeking the relocation and your spouse’s reasons for opposing that relocation.
- The effect the relocation would have on the safety and welfare of the child.
If you want to maximize your chances for success and avoid endangering your job opportunity it’s a good idea to contact a family law attorney the moment you know you’re going to seek this move. A good lawyer will help you put your best foot forward to increase your chances of executing a smooth move and a fresh start.
Here at Barna, Guzy, & Steffen we’ve represented many clients in similar circumstances. We’ll be happy to represent you as you strive to take the next steps in your life.