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In Today’s Society, Moving From One State To Another Is A Common Event

Last updated on October 30, 2023

A new job, better weather or access to extended family are all common reasons to move. If a divorced parent or single parent wants to relocate, there are laws in place that can prevent the parent from removing the children from the Commonwealth, and thus, away from the other parent.

At the Law Office of Leila J. Wons, P.C., we have an experienced parental relocation lawyer who is familiar with both defending and pursuing removal actions, and who was involved in a removal action that went all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

In Yannas v. Frondistou-Yannas (1985), the court established the standard for removal in cases where only one parent has custody. This standard is that removal is appropriate when there is a good reason — or real advantage — for the move. In Mason vs. Coleman (2006), the court decided that when parents share legal and physical custody, that the best interest of the child is the only standard important. This is a high standard to meet for parent removal actions, and you will need an experienced attorney to help you navigate through these complex removal questions.

Work With An Experienced Family Law Attorney For Move-Away Actions

After the Mason ruling in 2006, the court has been reluctant to allow parent relocations unless it can be shown that it is in the best interests of the children. It can be difficult to prove that the children will be better off if their lives are disrupted with a move to a new location and moved away from their noncustodial parent. Reasons that may be given for the relocation of the children are:

  • Additional access to extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
  • Access to special services such as a medical center for ongoing treatment
  • Economic reasons such as a new job for the parent
  • Educational reasons for either the parent or the child

The court has stated on several occasions that children should have access to both parents. If the parents have shared child custody, the court is reluctant to allow the move-away. If one parent has sole physical custody, then the court feels that the custodial parent has an obligation to accommodate the noncustodial parent, as long as the moving parent has a good, sincere reason for moving, and not just looking to deprive the other parent from parenting time. However, these standards will not apply if the noncustodial parent cannot, or has not, proven paternity.

One of the key issues facing fathers is to prove paternity for any child born out of wedlock. If the father is not on the birth certificate or has not been adjudicated the father, protesting a parent relocation is very difficult. It is important for these fathers to file court documents seeking temporary orders before the child is taken out of state.

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We can help with any family law issue — from alimony to paternity. Please call 508-986-9406 or send an email through our website to schedule an initial appointment at no charge.