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Thinking of moving out of state? Here's how it will affect custody

Life throws all kinds of curveballs our way. New opportunities arise, and we want to share those opportunities with our family. For parents who are divorced, taking advantage of prospects out of state can be complicated. Many people in our region move back and forth between Minnesota and Wisconsin, putting both state's laws at play.

For parents thinking of relocating their child from one state to another, here is what you need to know:

Parental relocation laws in Minnesota

Minnesota's parenting time laws require parents with physical custody to acquire the other parent's consent, or court order, before relocating out of state.

When determining whether a move out of state is in the best interests of the child, Minnesota courts consider a variety of factors, including:

  • What kind of relationship the child has with both the parent wishing to move and the parent still residing in Minnesota, as well as any siblings and other family remaining in the state.
  • The child's age and developmental needs
  • The logistics of maintaining a relationship between the child and the parent who is not relocating
  • Whether moving out of state will improve the child's quality of life

These rules expressly forbid a move intended to interfere with the other parent's custody or visitation rights. If the court believes relocation by one parent is meant to undermine the other's parenting time, they may deny the relocation request.

Wisconsin's new parental relocation statute

Wisconsin recently passed a new law relating to parental relocation, which requires parents to file a motion with the court when they wish to move more than 100 miles away from the other custodial parent. This law applies whether they want to move across state lines or not. The parent looking to relocate must file a motion with the following information:

  • The date they intend to transfer residence
  • The state and municipality where they wish to move
  • The reason for relocating
  • A new proposed placement schedule, if the parents currently have one
  • How parents might allocate costs and responsibilities for transporting the child between their residences

Just like the Minnesota rules, in Wisconsin, the other parent has an opportunity to oppose the relocation. Parents in Wisconsin also must keep these rules in mind if they are looking to move to another part of the state. Moving from Milwaukee to Green Bay, for example, is far enough to invoke these rules.

Creating a plan

If you are thinking of moving with your child to another state, begin preparing a new custody or visitation plan as soon as possible. In some cases, the other parent is more receptive to the move if you can show you have put thought into the change. Consulting with a family law attorney can help.

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