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How long does it take to get permission to move with my child from the court?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, LLC
Reviewed June 2023

Many months for a final, permanent decision

When you file a complaint or a counterclaim to move with your child, the judge will not make a final decision in your case for many, many months.

In most cases, you must wait for the final hearing for the judge to give you permission to move with your child. At the final hearing or trial the judge makes a permanent, final decision.

10 days for a temporary decision

But sometimes the judge will hear your case and may make a temporary decision earlier if you file a

The judge may hear your case within 10 days after you file the motion. The court may take longer than 10 days to hear your motion. Call the clerk's office to find out when they will schedule your motion. A decision after you file a motion is only a “temporary order.” You still need to come back to court for the final hearing or trial on your complaint where you asked for permission to move permanently. If the judge decides in the final hearing you cannot move your child, you must bring your child back to Massachusetts, even if they gave you temporary permission to move after you filed a motion. See, What can I do if I want to move right away?

Emergency decisions

If you have an emergency and cannot even wait 10 days for a hearing, you can file an “Emergency Motion.” You also must file an affidavit saying why you want to leave and why you need to leave very soon. See, How do I show the judge why I want to move? You probably still have to tell the other parent about the hearing. Ask the clerks at your court what to file to get the fastest hearing and what notice you must give the other parent.

See, What happens at a hearing?

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