Dealing with relocations and a child custody order

You may have been married in St. Louis and lived your married life here. You may then have divorced at a court in St. Louis. With the great upheaval of your divorce, the separating of your household into two independent units, the interaction between you and your former spouse and operational details of the child custody or visitation schedule, you may find other challenges and changes.

You could be faced with the challenge of either needing to change jobs or of having a job change forced upon you. This would be difficult under any circumstances, but at this time in these circumstances, it can be almost too much.

Even more troubling, what if with that job change comes a need to change your residence? How will this affect your parenting plan, especially if you have primary custody? Relocating from your current residence may be possible, but as the say on TV, don’t attempt on your own.

Remember, your child custody order is just that; an order by a Missouri court. Altering any aspect of that order on your own without court approval of the change opens you to potential contempt of court proceedings, which at their most extreme, could lead to jail.

You must inform your child’s other parent or any other party to your custody order at least 60 days in advance of when you would like to relocate. Failure to do this could lead to a refusal and potentially leave you in violation of the court order.

There are many factors listed in the Missouri relocation statute, but the overall factor will be you must show that the relocation would be in the best interests of the child and that they would be the primary recipient of the benefits resulting from the move.

This means the fact that it may be good for your career or allows you to earn more and therefore provide more for your child does not mean that a court will find it in your child’s best interest. If it disrupts their relationship with other important people, including their other parent and their schooling, winning approval of the other parties and the court may be challenging.

You should consult with your attorney before you attempt any of this because to be successful, you will need to have evidence that supports your assertions and they need to be well presented to make a compelling case.

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