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Child custody relocation rules in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Child Custody

Before moving out of Massachusetts with your child, you should check the law to know the correct procedure to do so. In most cases, you’ll need the permission of the other parent or the court. Even if you have sole physical custody, you can’t make the decision to move out of state on your own.

Domestic violence

Massachusetts still requires that you go through a legal process to move your child out of state if your reason is domestic violence. In an emergency situation, you may take your child out of state, but you will need to inform law enforcement as soon as you get the chance. If it’s not an emergency situation, you should inform the court about the domestic violence and request a restraining order and permission to leave the state with your child. A child custody lawyer may help you get the restraining order and relocation permission.

Massachusetts jurisdiction

Massachusetts child custody law applies to children who were born in the state or who have lived here for at least five years. You’ll need to check the law of whichever state has jurisdiction over your child relocation and custody issues.

Real advantage

There should be a “real advantage” to relocate with your child far away from their other parent. The ideal scenario for the court is for both parents to have involvement in their child’s life. It’s the court’s responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of children. Your reason for moving can’t be to get away from the other parent unless they are dangerous. If the child’s quality of life would improve, such as access to more opportunities, then the court might grant approval for a relocation.

You usually can’t move out of Massachusetts with your child without permission from the other parent. This is true even if you have physical custody or you were never married to the other parent.