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A custodial parent may want to change their child’s residence after a custody judgment has been entered. Missouri considers this to be such a potentially significant event that it has enacted a specific statutory procedure to address the situation. Any Missouri custodial parent considering a move with their child should be certain to follow this procedure. Otherwise, the parent could face consequences such as:

  1. Being ordered to return to their original residence;
  2. Being found in contempt of court; or
  3. An order being entered reducing his or her time with the child

Missouri Statute

Missouri law defines “relocation” as a change of residence of the child for more than ninety (90) days or more. A parent intending to relocate a child must give written notice of the proposed relocation to other other parent by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least sixty (60) days before the intended move.

Such written notice must contain the following:

  1. The intended new address, if known, which must include the actual address, or if the address is unknown the intended city;
  2. The telephone number of the new address;
  3. The specific date that the parent intends to move;
  4. A summary of the reasons that the parent intends to move; and
  5. A proposal for an amended schedule of visitation after the move

Procedure Following Statutory Notice

After receiving the statutory notice of relocation, the non-relocating parent has thirty (30) days to file a motion with the Court to prevent the relocation of the child. The motion must contain an affidavit, and specific reasons that the objecting parent is opposed to the move. If an objection is not filed as required, the parent intending to relocate may move the child without further court permission. However, if an objection is properly filed, the relocating parent must file a response and a proposed parenting plan with the court within fourteen (14) days.

Once an objection and answer are filed, a hearing must be held to determine whether the court will permit the relocation. The court will permit the proposed move only if it determines that the move is being made in good faith, and that the move is in the best interest of the child. If necessary, the court will enter a new custody schedule, child support order, and transportation arrangement.

Obtaining an attorney to help you meet the specific statutory requirements and present your evidence will give you the best chance of success in your case.

Attorneys at Vessel Bridges Murphy are ready to assist you. It is our hope that you find these materials useful. When you are ready, contact our offices to schedule an appointment.