Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law
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Divorced professionals relocating from Minnesota with children

After a divorce, a parent's employment becomes even more important than before, especially if that parent has the children living at home with him or her for a significant amount of the time. It can be a financial challenge, even with child support and spousal maintenance, to provide the kind of home the children were used to before the family split into two households, which must now be funded by the same amount of incoming collective income.

So, when a Minnesota professional in this situation is told by his or her employer that the job is moving to a new location, often out of state and far away, or that a lucrative promotion is available if relocation is an option, that parent may feel that he or she has no choice but to accept the position and make the move, despite the need for a change in child custody arrangements.

Based on the data, this situation is a real possibility:

  • Employers tend to relocate employees either to locations where project work is being performed or to other company locations and in 2014, more than three-quarters of employee transfers within the U.S. were interstate, meaning moves that required relocation across state lines, according to Worldwide ERC, the workforce mobility association.
  • Atlas Van Lines compiles yearly data about the nature of household relocations it performs and in 2015, 1,591 household relocations were outbound from Minnesota as compared to 1,175 inbound. Obviously, these were not all divorced-parent moves, but it shows an economic trend in the state.

We recently posted information about parental relocation law in Minnesota when a parent proposes relocating outside the state with the child. Minnesota has a specific statute that covers requests to modify a child's primary residence for an interstate move. If the other parent has been granted parenting time, the parent who seeks to move with the child must either get the other parent's consent or a court order.

The court in deciding whether to allow an out-of-state move must look at all factors impacting the child's best interests, including eight specific factors listed in the statute.

It is also possible that a professional parent could be transferred to or offered a promotion in another community within Minnesota, which has several major towns and cities and is a large state geographically. Moving within the state can potentially create a longer distance from the other parent's home than would some out-of-state moves to surrounding states' border areas.

In an intrastate move-away case, the court has the authority to either allow a change of the child's primary residence or deny it, based on what would best meet the child's best interests.

This has been an introductory look at a complicated area of Minnesota law. Seeking advice from and representation by an experienced Minnesota family lawyer is important for any parent facing relocation issues, whether he or she seeks to relocate with a child or wants to challenge the move. It may be possible to negotiate an agreement without resorting to a court fight and legal counsel can help to facilitate that discussion through one of several dispute resolution methods. If negotiation is not possible, an attorney can fight for the parent's position in court.

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