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STL Moms- Child custody concerns when relocating residences

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI)- Nowadays, more than at any time in history, American families are living in a mobile society. People and families will move residences multiple times, sometimes to another state or even to another country. Relocation can have devastating impact on the ability of children of parents who no longer live together to maintain frequent contact with both parents.

This morning, Jonathan Marks with the Marks Law Firm spoke with Margie about what parents need to be concerned about when moving with children.

In Missouri, relocation is governed by a specific statute - Section 452.377 RSMo. First, the statute defines relocation as 'a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of ninety days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence.' Second, the statute requires any party under a court-ordered custody plan - whether through a divorce or paternity action - to provide a specific form of written notice to any party with custody or visitation rights.

The Missouri notice provision is very specific and must contain the following information:

  • The intended new residence, including the specific address and mailing address, if known, and if not known, the city
  • The home telephone number of the new residence, if known
  • The date of the intended move or proposed relocation
  • A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of a child, if applicable
  • A proposal for a revised schedule of custody or visitation with the child, if applicable.

The notice must be given in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least sixty days in advance of any proposed relocation.

A parent should not take the relocation provisions for granted nor should a parent simply assume relocation is a 'given' and will be accepted by the other parent or the court.  By statute, every custody judgment has the relocation requirements set forth in clear language, so no parent can claim lack of notice of the relocation law.