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Moving a Child Out of State During Divorce

The question I want to answer today is how to move a child out of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts if the other parent won’t allow it.

So here’s the situation: You and the other parent have one or more children together. You either share physical or legal custody with the other parent or at least the other parent has visitation rights
You want to move out of state with your child but the other parent won’t allow it. What do you do?

The type of case that you need to start is called a Removal action. You are asking for the court to grant you permission to remove the child from the state despite the objection from the other parent. It is advisable that you hire an attorney to help with this process because it can be complicated.

In Removal cases, it might be wise to hire a Guardian ad Litem, or a GAL, to do an investigation into what’s in the best interest of the child. The GAL will talk to the parents, school teachers, family members, friends, doctors. Anyone that has anything to do with the child. They will make a recommendation whether it’s in the best interest of the child to leave the state with one parent.

The legal standard is two folds: 1. There must be a real advantage to the parent moving. 2. The move must be in the best interest of the child.

What’s a real advantage?

Usually a job in another state or possible a move to be closer to family with more support.

What’s not a real advantage?

Moving to Florida because the weather’s nicer.

Of course if the parents can somehow agree to a schedule and still allow the other parent to move out of state with the child – that would be best.
If an agreement between the parents can’t be reached, then usually these cases to go trial and a judge will decide. An attorney to help represent you will be helpful for these cases.

Check out other videos and keep checking back for more answers to your questions about Child Custody in Massachusetts.

One Comment on “Moving a Child Out of State During Divorce

  1. This is a good overview of how to begin a Removal case and the basics of proving enough to be granted court permission to move with your child. I would like to add that the two-part test discussed in this overview is the standard set out in the Yannas case and only applies in cases where one parent has sole physical custody (or primary time) with the child. In cases involving joint custody (or closer to 50/50 shared time) the standard is much stricter.

    All in all, I find these to be the most difficult cases because there is often little room for compromise. When we handle financial issues there is often a middle ground that makes sense. But in removal cases if one parent wants to move to Florida and the other wants them to stay in Massachusetts, neither will be happy with a move to Virginia. In the end to settle a removal case one parent will have to compromise more than the other.