If you share custody of your children in Massachusetts, the other parent cannot move out of state with the children without giving you notice. You can either agree to the move or ask the court to prevent the other parent from relocating with your children.
Review the steps to take if your child’s other parent wants to move out of state.
Massachusetts does not provide specific details about how the other parent should give notice. Generally, he or she should provide you the date of the move and the proposed new address. As soon as you receive notice, you must take action if you want to stop the move.
You must request an order blocking relocation from the court that issued the initial custody hearing. In some cases, the judge may require the other parent to pay a bond to prevent unauthorized relocation or issue a legal order preventing the move until the court settles the case.
Understanding the best interest standard
The parent who wants to move must show that the relocation serves the child’s best interest. The judge will listen to testimony from both sides and determine how the move will affect your child’s well-being. He or she will consider:
- Whether you will be able to maintain a strong bond with your child if he or she moves out of state
- Each parent’s reason for wanting to move or blocking the move
- Whether the move will support the child’s developmental, physical and emotional health and growth
- Whether a change in the current custody schedule will negatively impact your child
- Whether the move will positively affect your child’s quality of life
If the other parent has primary custody, the judge will also consider how a move will improve his or her life.