What happens if one of the parents wants to move?

Section 452.377 of the Missouri statutes sets forth the procedure that must be followed when a parent having custody rights seeks to relocate the residence of the child.  The statute applies whether the move is within the State of Missouri or outside the State of Missouri.  The statute applies even if the move is within the metropolitan area.

The statute requires the parent seeking to relocate the child to give 60 days advance written notice by certified mail of the proposed move to the other parent.  The notice must contain:

    1.    The intended new residence, including the specific address and mailing address if known, and if not known, the city.

    2.    The home telephone number of the new residence, if known.

    3.    The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.

    4.    A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of a child, if applicable.

    5.    A proposal for a revised schedule of custody or visitation with the child.

Once the notice is given, the receiving parent must file a motion with the court within 30 days of receipt of the notice in order to contest the relocation.  Failure to give notice may result in an order requiring return of the child to the jurisdiction.

The legal standard used to determine relocation cases is the best interest of the child.  Parents seeking to relocate should be cautioned that the relocating parent must have compelling reasons for relocating, and be able to prove that the move is in the best interest of the child.