Did you know there’s a Massachusetts law that specifically addresses the removal of minor children from the Commonwealth? G.L. c. 208, section 30 is known as the Massachusetts removal statute. It provides that a parent of minor children, looking to relocate and remove the children from Massachusetts, must establish a “good, sincere reason” for the move. This is called the “real advantage” test. Once you have shown the court that you have “cause,” meaning a good, sincere reason for the move, then the court must assess whether the move is in the children’s best interest. This law focuses almost exclusively on the scenario where one party is the primary physical custodian of the minor children and seeks to move out of Massachusetts. If the other parent does not object to you moving with the children, then you are free to move without court intervention. However, it is highly recommended that when you are contemplating such a move, that you be as considerate as possible to the impact on the children’s lives, their community, schedules, and their parenting time with the other parent. That is exactly why you need the assistance of Attorney Allen of the Allen Law Group, P.C., an experienced divorce and family law attorney.
If the parties share physical custody of the minor children, the court’s willingness to elevate one parent’s interest in relocating the children is often diminished. Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities with respect to the children, and as a result the importance of one parent’s advantage to relocating outside of Massachusetts is greatly reduced. The impact of the move on the overall parenting schedule is of paramount consideration. Judge’s will try to avoid radically modifying the parenting schedule when both parties are sincere, committed, involved and loving parents. Courts want to see the moving parent make good faith efforts to try to limit the impact of the move on the children and other parent. The loss of parenting time and frequent access to the children, as well as the increased costs of travel to see the children, can also result in a reduced child support order for the non-moving parent. Most important in this consideration is how the moving party can demonstrate how the non-moving parent’s time with the children will be preserved and protected.
A move “in-state” may also warrant a challenge by the non-moving parent using a similar review, when such a change in location may affect transportation time, the children’s schooling, extracurricular activities, and parenting time. If one party is staying in-state but moving across state from Fall River to Northampton, for example, then the same issues apply. As a result, the court is likely to use the same standard to weigh the benefit of the move and how it impacts the children’s best interest and their ongoing relationship with the other parent. As a result, it is important to fully consider the impact of a move and to consider how to address the move in a way that is most considerate of the children’s lives, community, schedules, and parenting time with the other parent. If you are considering a relocation, or one has been forced upon you by your employer for example, then you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney to best assess how this move can be worked out with the other parent and/or to best prepare the request for the court’s consideration.
This process takes time, so don’t wait! Contact Attorney Aaron E. Allen of the Allen Law Group, P.C. at (978) 219-9694 and/or at firstname.lastname@example.org now!