For many people, divorce can be like a fresh start. While the process is often difficult and emotional, by the time everything is over, you’re probably ready to get on with your life and start anew.
But what happens if those plans include moving to another state? And what happens if you want to bring your kids with you?
Relocation in Massachusetts
If you are the custodial parent after the divorce – meaning you have physical custody of your kids – then moving away is not a decision that only involves you. It affects your children and your ex-spouse, too.
The state of Massachusetts requires explicit consent from the non-custodial parent, allowing you to move to another state with your children. You may have to submit a formal notice of relocation to your ex-spouse ahead of time.
Your ex then has the right to consent to your decision or dispute it, in which case you will likely have to appear before a judge. The judge will determine whether the move is within the child’s best interests before granting permission to the custodial parent.
Rights of the child
Massachusetts law allows the child to give his or her consent to a move if a judge finds them old enough to do so. This law can be tricky as there is no age specified, merely that the child must have been born in Massachusetts or lived in the state for at least five years.
If a judge considers your child to be old enough, your child’s consent is necessary before you can move away.
Updating your custody agreements
If you receive consent from your ex-spouse, it’s essential to take time to reevaluate your custody agreements and parenting plans. Your ex-spouse should still be able to visit your child, and you will need to come to terms with how to arrange those visits if you move out of the state.
Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help you figure out the best method for updating your plans and ensuring that your child can spend quality time with their non-custodial parent despite the distance that might come between them.
Relocation after a divorce can be a challenging situation. No matter the reason for your move, it’s important to remember that relocation can bring about change to not only your life but the lives of your children and their non-custodial parent.
Be open about your desire to move and respect the decisions of your child and your ex so you can come to an arrangement that ensures everyone’s comfort and happiness.
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