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What if I want to move out of Massachusetts?

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services updated and revised Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2009

Can I move out of state with my child?

The answer to this question is very complicated. It depends on many things:

  • why you want to move out of state;
  • whether the move will improve your and/or your child's life;
  • whether you are married to the other parent;
  • whether you are divorced or in the middle of getting divorced;
  • the kind of relationship the other parent has with your child;
  • whether there are any court orders about your child;
  • whether you think the other parent has filed for custody or will file for custody; and
  • many other things.

If the other parent will not agree to let you move your child out of state, you will need to get permission from the court. The judge will look at the kinds of things in the list above. The judge will then decide whether or not you can move out of state with your child.

If you move your child out of state without a court order or the other parent's permission, the other parent can go to court and ask the judge to order you to return your child to Massachusetts.

Check with a lawyer if you plan to move your child out of state. Call your local legal services office to see if you qualify for free legal help or call a private lawyer.

Read more about moving out of Massachusetts with your child.

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