Child Relocation

After entry of a custody order, there are strict requirements that must be followed when a parent wants to move his or her residence.


More About Child Relocation Cases

Under Missouri law, when a parent intends to relocate the residence of the child, regardless of the distance of the relocation, he or she must provide notice to the other parent of the proposed move.  The notice must be in writing; sent via certified mail, with a return receipt requested; and be sent at least 60 days before the proposed relocation occurs.  The parent desiring to relocate must assert the following in their letter:

  • The intended new residence, including the specific address and mailing address, if known, and if not known, the city;
  • The home telephone of the new residence;
  • The date of the intended move or proposed relocation;
  • A brief statement of the specific reasons for the relocation of the child, which might include a better employment opportunity, access to a family support network, or better educational opportunities;
  • A proposal for a revised custody schedule that outlines visitation after the relocation has occurred; and
  • The other party’s right, if that party is parent, to file a Motion, pursuant to Section 452.377, RSMO, seeking an order to prevent the relocation and accompanying affidavit setting forth the specific good-faith factual basis for opposing the relocation within 30 days of receipt of the notice

If a parent relocates without following the above requirements, the non-relocating parent may request the child be returned until determined by the court. The parent who failed to comply with the legal requirements of a relocation may be ordered to pay the attorney fees for the other parent who was forced to take legal action because of the relocation.

If a parent receives a relocation notice and objects to the relocation, the parent must file an objection with the court within 30 days of receipt of the relocation notice.  The objection must be accompanied with an affidavit setting forth the specific factual basis for opposing the relocation.  The person seeking to relocate must file a response to the objection to their relocation within 14 days of the objection being filed.  The response must be accompanied with an affidavit setting forth the facts supporting their proposed relocation and a proposed parenting plan.

In a relocation case, the court determines whether or not the request to relocate is being made in good-faith and if so, if the proposed relocation is in the best interest of the child.  One of the factors the court considers is whether or not the relocation will impact the ability of the non-relocating parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child.

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