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Understanding the law if your spouse wants to move

Whether Massachusetts residents are custodial parents or non-custodial parents of children, the decision to move, following a divorce, is not something that should ever be taken lightly. Regardless of the reasoning, the courts have various protections and procedures to ensure that such decisions are necessary or done with proper intentions. In addition, courts work to ensure that future visitation rights are not negatively affected by the move.

If an express consent agreement was in the original child custody arrangement, the information and understanding should be straightforward. If not, the custodial parent who wishes to move must give a written notice to the non-custodial parent within a certain timeframe, which varies by state, requiring consent from the other parent. If this is not accepted, the courts will look at the situation and make an appropriate ruling.

Courts will strive to consider the best interests of the child. If the custodial parent were moving for a new job or a better cost of living, it would likely be considered, “in good faith.” Likewise, if the courts feel the move is done with ill intent, the move could be outright denied.

If one finds themselves on either end of a child custody issue, it is important to have a complete understanding of the laws. We all understand the importance of each parent maintaining a healthy relationship with his or her child, and it is important to keep that relationship strong. The laws vary by state and are not always easy to understand, so it might be in one’s best interests to speak with a law firm familiar with family law before proceeding.

Source:, “Child Custody Relocation Laws,” accessed on June 26, 2017