A Guide to Minnesota’s Child Relocation Laws

One question many divorced/separated parents have asked: Can I move my child out of state? The short answer is ‘yes’—but only when you follow the proper procedures. If you have shared legal custody or your former partner has visitation rights, Minnesota law prevents you from simply packing up and moving out of state. 

Before you can legally do so, you must get consent from the other parent or get approval from a court. Failure to follow the law could cause serious problems. Here, our Mankato, MN child custody attorney provides an overview of our state’s parental relocation laws. 

Moving a Child Out of State: By Agreement or With a Court Order

In 2006, Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill that put additional restrictions on a custodial parent’s ability to relocate their child out of the state. The parental relocation law applies to children for whom parents have joint custody or a non-custodial parent has visitation rights. Under the statute, a parent seeking to move a child out of the state must obtain one of the following:

  • Parental Agreement: You can move your child out of state when you have the consent of the other parent. Indeed, this is the most straightforward way to relocate a child to another state. To ensure that your rights are protected, it is best to get a written agreement with the other parent before moving. 
  • Court Approval: Even if the other parent refuses to consent to the out-of-state relocation, you can also petition for court approval. Of course, doing so presents some additional challenges. A parent seeking to move a child has the burden of proving that the relocation is appropriate. 

Minnesota Courts Use the Best Interests of the Child Standard

Under Minnesota law (Minnesota Statute § 518.17), custody and visitation issues are handled under the best interests of the child standard. Should a dispute arise during a proposed out-of-state child relocation, a Minnesota court must determine whether or not such a move is actually in the best interests of the child. If not, the court can block the relocation. In applying this standard to a relocation case, courts consider a number of different factors, including: 

  • The impact the proposed relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development;
  • How the relocation will affect the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent;
  • Whether the relocating parent is making a good faith effort to keep the other parent involved in the child’s life; and
  • Depending on the age and maturity level of the child, the child’s personal preference regarding the move. 

Call Our Minnesota Child Custody Lawyers for Immediate Assistance

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota family lawyers have extensive experience handling child custody cases. If you have questions about parental relocation, we are here to help. To request a free, confidential initial family law consultation, please contact us now. From our law office in Mankato, we represent parents throughout Southern Minnesota, including in Blue Earth County, Nicollet County, and Le Sueur County.