5 Reasons a Judge Will Deny Relocation Request in Minnesota

reasons a judge will deny relocation

Relocating with a child when parents share custody can be a complicated legal process in Minnesota. Generally, a parent needs permission from the court before they can move out of state with a child if there is an existing custody order. Under Minnesota law, the court will consider a variety of factors when determining whether to allow a parent to relocate with a child.

It’s important to understand the reasons a judge may deny a relocation request so you can prepare your case accordingly and increase your chances of success. In this article, we’ll explore 7 key reasons a Minnesota judge may deny a parent’s request to move with a child to another state.

1. Potential Harm to the Child’s Relationship with the Other Parent

One of the main factors a judge will consider is how the proposed move would impact the child’s relationship with the other parent. Judges aim to preserve a child’s close bond with both parents. If the relocation significantly disrupts the frequency of contact between the child and the other parent, the court may deny the request.

For example, if the move is out of state and would prevent regular in-person visitation between the child and another parent, a judge may determine this is not in the child’s best interests.

However, if modifications to the visitation schedule could maintain frequent and meaningful contact, the request has a better chance of being granted.

2. Putting the Child’s Interests First

The overarching consideration for Minnesota courts in relocation cases is determining what is in the child’s best interests. According to Minnesota Statute 518.175, the court must consider “the best interests of the child” above all else when making custody determinations, including relocation decisions.

The court will assess how the proposed move could impact the stability of the child’s life, their schooling, health, extended family relationships, and other factors related to their well-being. If the court believes the move is not in the child’s best interests, the relocation request will likely be denied.

3. Failure to Follow Proper Relocation Request Procedure

There are rules under Minnesota law that dictate the proper process parents must follow to request relocation with a child. Key requirements include providing written notice to the other parent, proposing an altered parenting time schedule, and motioning the court for an order granting permission to move. Failure to take these procedural steps properly can derail a relocation request.

Parents seeking to move must formally request the court’s approval and allow time for the other parent to respond and negotiate before relocating. Just informing the other parent is not enough. Abiding by proper process shows the court you are making a good-faith effort.

4. The Child’s Age and Needs

The child’s age and needs are important factors as well. If the child is very young, has special needs, or is strongly rooted in the community, a judge may be more reluctant to approve a move. Severely disrupting a young child’s routine or moving them away from family, doctors, or school can negatively impact their growth and stability.

On the other hand, if the child is older and the parent requesting relocation can demonstrate the move benefits the child, approval is more likely. For example, if the move is due to a new job opportunity, that would improve the family’s quality of life.

5. Lack of a Set Visitation Schedule

Finally, not having an established visitation schedule can jeopardize a relocation request. Judges are more comfortable granting permission when a clear custody arrangement and visitation plan is in place. This ensures the relationship between the child and the other parent will be preserved despite the distance.

If no formal custody order exists, the judge may deny the relocation until an agreement is reached. At a minimum, parents should agree to a visitation schedule that accommodates travel and maintains regular contact.

What should I do if the other parent won’t agree to move?

If the other parent will not agree to relocate with your child, your next step is obtaining a court order permitting the move. First, try negotiating an agreement on visitation and communication if you move. If the other parent still refuses, you can file a motion requesting the court to approve the move.

Hiring an experienced family law attorney to represent you is highly recommended to increase your chances of success. They can help build a strong case demonstrating why relocation is in your child’s best interests.

Consulting a MN Family Law Attorney Can Help Your Relocation Case

Navigating relocation and child custody cases can be extremely complex for Minnesota parents. Working with an experienced Minnesota family law attorney is crucial to understanding the court’s approach and boosting your chances of success. An attorney can help you:

  • Understand the legal factors and case law surrounding relocation disputes
  • Take the proper procedural steps and avoid missteps
  • Gather supporting evidence showing the benefits of moving
  • Craft a realistic parenting time schedule post-move
  • Negotiate effectively with the other parent
  • Present a strong legal argument for relocation that serves the child’s interests

At Martine Law, our Minnesota family law attorneys have the knowledge and resources to guide you through this challenging process. If you want to better understand your chances of gaining approval to move out of state with your child, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We are committed to helping our clients resolve relocation disputes in a way that puts the child first.

Working With a Family Law Attorney for Relocation Help

Relocating out of state with a child against a co-parent’s wishes can turn into an expensive, drawn-out court battle in Minnesota. But working collaboratively with an experienced attorney improves the likelihood your request will be approved.

At Martine Law, our Minnesota custody lawyers have successfully helped clients win approval for out-of-state moves when it truly served the child’s interests. We know this is a major life decision for parents. Our attorneys are committed to helping you reach the best outcome through negotiation, mediation, or litigation.

If you are considering relocating with your child, contact Martine Law today to discuss your situation in a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Minnesota Child Relocation

When do I need court permission to move with my child?

In Minnesota, you need a judge’s permission to permanently move with your child if:

  • You are divorced, legally separated, or never married to the other parent
  • No custody order or parenting plan exists
  • The other parent does not consent to the move
  • You plan to relocate more than 150 miles away within Minnesota, or out of state

Without the other parent’s consent or a court order, moving with the child could be considered interference with custody rights.

How long does it take to get a relocation order?

It depends on the case complexity and court schedule, but the process often takes 2 to 6 months. An initial hearing is usually scheduled within 30-60 days of filing the motion to relocate. A final decision may require multiple hearings.

Having a divorce attorney can help speed up the process and ease the burden through each step. The sooner your motion is filed, the sooner you will have an outcome.

Can I move before getting the court’s permission?

No, it is never advisable to relocate out of state with your child before getting a Minnesota court order permitting it. Moving without the court’s approval can be considered a violation of the other parent’s custody rights.

At a minimum, this will hurt your chances of being granted permission later. But more seriously, it could lead to contempt charges, impact child custody, or require you to return the child until a decision is made.

Author Bio

Xavier Martine

Xavier Martine is the Founder of Martine Law, a Minnesota criminal defense and family law firm. Serving clients in Minneapolis, MN, and surrounding areas, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of criminal matters, including DWIs, drug charges, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. He also represents clients in family law matters, including divorce, child support, and child custody.

Xavier received his Juris Doctor from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 in Minnesota” in 2021 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He was also named the “Best DUI Lawyer in Minneapolis” award in 2023 by Expertise.com and a “Rising Star” in 2023 by SuperLawyers.

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