The economic downturn of recent years has led to thousands of layoffs, resulting in countless moves by those unfortunate Missouri workers desperately searching for employment. And, while these types of relocations are often tricky enough, they can become a whole lot more complicated if the person moving is also attempting to relocate with his or her child - in particular, when this parent shares custody or visitation with the child's other parent. In circumstances such as these, Missouri parents need to adhere to Missouri child relocation laws in order to ensure their respective rights are protected.
Notice and process of child relocation in Missouri
Under Missouri law, when one parent wishes to move with a child - and he or she shares child custody of visitation with the other parent - the parent must give notice of the proposed move by certified mail to the other parent at least 60 days beforehand.
Specifically, Missouri statutory law states that this notice must include very particular information, including:
- The moving parent's new intended address, if known, but if not known, at least the city
- The moving parent's new phone number, if known
- The date the moving parent intends to relocate
- A "brief statement" detailing the exact reasons for the relocation of the child
- A proposed revision to the current custody or visitation schedule
Following this notice, the non-relocating parent has only 30 days to file a motion with the court outlining his or her objections to the relocation. If, however, following a proper notice the non-relocating parent fails to file his or her objection within 30 days, then his or her right to object will be waived and the relocation will likely be permitted following the expiration of the initial 60 day period.
On the other hand, if an objection is timely filed by the non-relocating parent, then the court will make the determination of whether to permit the move based on what is in the best interests of the child after a hearing.
Seek assistance if involved in Missouri child relocation dispute
It is important to note in some instances, such as when "exigent" circumstances are present, Missouri courts have been known to deviate from the strict notice requirements outlined under Missouri law. For example, in one instance a court permitted a mother to give a one-week verbal and written notice to the other parent.
Consequently, if you are a parent and you have been given any indication that the other parent of your child intends on moving, it is often best to be proactive and seek the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney right away - even if you have not been given proper notice of the relocation under Missouri law. A skilled attorney can help protect your rights and delineate what you options may be given the circumstances.