Legal factors involved with shared custody and parental relocation

For any parent in Massachusetts who is thinking of moving to another state, concerns over how a child will adjust often exist. However, in cases where a parent is divorced and shares custody of a child with an ex-spouse, he or she must also take steps to obtain permission to legally relocate with a child to another state.

In cases where a custodial parent asks and receives permission from a non-custodial parent regarding an out-of-state move, a parent’s permission means that the move is considered to be legally sanctioned. However, even in these cases, it’s wise to consult with an attorney and take the proper legal steps to document that permission was granted as well as the details of any existing or amended custody and visitation agreement. If a parent does not grant the other permission to move out of Massachusetts with a child, the parent who is seeking to move must turn to the courts.

When a child’s removal is contested, the courts will make a ruling with regard to whether or not to sanction a move based upon what it believes is in a child’s best interests. The parent who wishes to move must, therefore, provide compelling evidence as to how a move would benefit a child. A higher paying job, closer proximity to extended family members and a more stable environment are all examples of arguments that a parent who is seeking court approval to move across state lines may present.

Additionally, factors related to how a move would impact a child’s emotional, physical and developmental health must also be taken into account. How such a move would impact a child’s relationship with the parent who is left behind is also a key factor in any child removal case.

Parents, who are dealing with child custody and visitation disputes related to a parent’s wishes to remove a child from Massachusetts, can benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles such matters.

Source:, “Moving out of Massachusetts with your children,” Nov. 17, 2015