If you get divorced in Missouri and you have children, or were part of a prior paternity case where a custody judgment was entered, the mother is to provide notice to you before she can move with your children. This is required by Missouri law according to 452.377 RSMo. This statute gives a procedure by which you must give notice that you are moving and what the notice must contain. This applies whether she is moving nearby within the same county or wants to relocate outside the State of Missouri. Temporary moves do not count. It is necessary for any permanent change of address, which essentially means a change of address for more than ninety days.
What type of notice am I supposed to get?
The requirement is that you get a certified letter from the mother at least sixty days prior to the move. In Missouri, a certified letter is necessary. A regular letter or make a phone call from the mother does not suffice. If they fail to follow this requirement, the court can make the mother return. In other words, if the mother moves without proper notice, you as a father can take action to ensure that your kids are brought back.
What must be in the certified letter?
The certified letter must contain certain information to be valid. First, it must contain where she intends to move. This includes the address and telephone number if she knows them. If she does not know them, she must provide the city and state, as well as the date she intends to move. It also must contain a brief statement of the reason she wants to move your children. Finally, the letter must contain a proposal for a new schedule of custody or visitation with the children if one is necessary.
What happens if you object timely to the move?
After you receive notice, you as the father have the opportunity to object to the relocation. You must do so within thirty days after the mother’s proposed relocation is received by hiring an attorey and filing a formal objection with the court. If you do so, then the case has to be litigated and eventually a hearing would be scheduled to determine whether the move will be allowed.
At the hearing, the mother would need to show that the proposed move is in good faith, is in the best interests of the children and that the father can still receive frequent and meaningful contact. This is often a tough burden for a mother to bear and courts will frequently not allow a mother to move out of state without good reason.
If you are a father who has receive relocation notice, you need the help of attorneys in this matter. Stange Law Firm has helped numerous men in relocation cases and can help you with your situation.