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Child custody and relocation laws in Massachusetts

Like other states, Massachusetts has special rules when a parent with custody over his or her child wishes to move to another state. Particularly since states in this part of the country are smaller, it is highly possible a parent may have very good reasons for wanting to make a move. For instance, he may have a better job opportunity in a nearby state, or he may want to make a move in order to be closer to relatives.

Under Massachusetts law, at least in a situation where the parents are divorced, a child may have to give his or her consent to a move out of state. In order for a minor child to have veto power over a move, the court will have to find that the child is old enough to make an informed decision. Moreover, the child must either have been born in Massachusetts or have lived in the state for at least five years.

If the child is not old enough to make an informed decision about a move, then both parents ordinarily have to agree to the move out of state. There are exceptions to this rule, as courts have leeway to find that there is good cause for a parent to move even over the child’s or other parent’s objections.

Parents should also be aware that other laws and rules may apply to situations in which one of them has to move. Moreover, in such situations, each parent should also read over the child custody and parenting time orders of the court, as they may include additional rules and processes the parents must follow. An attorney can also be of valuable assistance during a planned relocation to another state.