What are my rights in regards to my ex-wife moving my daughters out-of-state without my permission?

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What are my rights in regards to my ex-wife moving my daughters out-of-state without my permission?

My ex-wife is planning on moving out of state to live with her new husband. I’ve been divorced for 4 years and my kids are 6 1/2.

Asked on June 26, 2015 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A custodial parent who wants to move their child(ren) out-of-state must obtain court permission. If they move the minor child(ren) without permission, the court may issue a contempt order, which can include fines and jail time.

Each state has its own factors that courts must consider in move-away disputes, but basically they must weigh the benefits of the move against the disruption to the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. The factors considered are such things as: a new job opportunity, closer proximity to the custodial parent’s extended family who can help with childcare and support, an educational opportunity or, as in your case, relocaton due to a new marriage. The court then weighs these potential benefits against the possible adverse effect on the child(ren) from reduced contact with the non-custodial parent. 

Note: In some states, there is a presumption that a custodial parent has a right to relocate with their minor child(ren), thereby placing a burden on the objecting non-custodial parent to overcome the presumption. 

At this point, you should consult directly with a family law attorney in your area. They can best advise you further.


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