St. Louis Relocation Lawyers

Missouri Relocation Attorneys

When a couple goes through a divorce many important decisions are made. Decisions about property, debt, child support, and most importantly, decisions are made that affect the care and custody of children. The parties must decide, or have a Court decide for them, where the children will have their primary residence, where the children will go to school, and how much time each parent will spend with the children.

A document called a parenting plan is filed in every divorce case when minor children are involved. The parenting plan outlines the decisions made and provides the parties with rules to follow. If all goes well, the parents can live under the rules of the parenting plan. Frequently, however, circumstances change for the parties of a divorce and consequently, those affected by the changed circumstances wish to have the parenting plan modified to fit the changes in their lives. Life changes that require a move to a different home or a different city happen and the Missouri Statutes provide rules for those occasions.

RSMO Section 452.377 Revised Statutes of Missouri outlines the rules and procedure that must be followed when someone wishes to change the principal residence of a child for a period of 90 days or more. A parent wishing to relocate a child must provide written notice via certified mail to the other parent and anyone else entitled to any custody of the child, at least 60 days prior to the relocation. The letter must include specific detail regarding the move, the new location, and the new proposed parenting plan.

Just because one parent wishes to relocate the child does not mean that the Court will automatically grant such a request. A parent that wishes to object to the relocation may do so. The parent wishing to relocate the child must prove that the relocation is in good faith and that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. Ultimately, these matters are presented to the Court in a hearing and a judge will decide whether or not to permit the relocation. If the judge permits the relocation, then the parenting plan will be amended to reflect the new schedule of custody that each parent will have. The schedules developed after relocation are often drastically different than those that exist when the parents live in the same town. The parent with primary custody of the child may have that child throughout most of the school year with perhaps a couple of scheduled visits to the parent. Yet, the parent without primary custody may have the child for the majority of the summer. Each case is different and every family is different so the parenting plan that is developed depends greatly on the facts of the individual case. Variables include ages of the children, distance involved, parents financial resources and generally the children’s needs and best interest.

The parent with primary physical custody may be required to provide a clear line of communication with the other parent. Families may get videophones so that the child can see and hear their parent while talking on the telephone. The goal is to provide meaningful communication for each parent so that a relationship can be maintained.

The Court will outline a plan for transportation and set rules as to who will pay the transportation costs of the child. If a child must travel by airplane multiple times a year to see their parent, travel expenses may rise quickly. The parties must plan for those expenses and consider the effect they may have on the potential relocation.

If the Court denies the relocation request, the parent seeking to relocate the child must decide whether or not to continue with the move or to stay in their current home. If that parent decides to move, the parent objecting to the relocation may be awarded primary custody of the child and the parenting plan will be developed to meet the needs and best interests of the child. If the parent decides to stay, more than likely the parenting plan will not need to be modified.

If you are considering a relocation of your child or if someone is requesting to relocate your child, you need an experienced attorney. At The Roberts Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys have decades worth of trial experience and have the skills necessary to successfully argue your relocation case. Contact an attorney at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. today.

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