On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child custody on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.
For many couples, the child custody portion of their divorce settlement may be the most difficult aspect of the process. It is difficult because of the competing interests, the financial element of child support and the fact most parents want to be with their children as much as possible.
So, after hammering out an agreement that both sides can live with, what happens if because of your job or for other reasons, you need to relocate? As complex as it may be to deal with custody issues, especially joint custody, even in a town the size of Columbia, what will happen when one parent needs to move to St. Louis, Kansas City or somewhere else?
Most important, you must remember that section in your custody or visitation decree that reminds you that you must give notice at least 60 days prior to any relocation. Missouri statute Section 452.377.1 provides the list of information you must provide to the other parent. If you fail to follow this procedure, you could wind up paying for the other parent’s legal costs, and be required to return the child to the court’s jurisdiction.
This will also likely impair your prospect of retaining, much, if any, custody or visitation with your child, and could lead to restrictions such as supervised visitation for the remainder of the time your custody order remains in place.
Because your relocation with the child could result in the other parent having less time with your child, you will need to provide substantial evidence of how this move will truly benefit the child. You also have to indicate in detail how the existing custody or visitation order will need to be modified.
Given the complexity of this issue and the frequent need for court approval of a relocation, it is best if you work with an attorney to draw up the strongest arguments that support the move and a revised custody plan that demonstrates how such a relocation is in the child’s best interest and not being done simply to deprive the child’s other parent of time with the child.