Can I Move During a Divorce if I Have Children? What Must I do in Montana?

Divorce is a challenging process for all parties involved, and it is not uncommon for one or both parents to consider relocating, whether it is within the same city or out of state. This could be due to a new job opportunity, personal reasons, or simply a fresh start. However, when children are involved, such a decision can significantly impact the parenting time and relationship between both parents and their children. 

In Montana, parents have the right to move to any location they wish after a divorce. However, the state recognizes that such a decision could impact the best interests of the child, and therefore has specific statutes in place to address this issue. If you are a parent considering a move during or after a divorce in Montana, it is important to familiarize yourself with these statutes and the legal process involved.  

In this article, we will explore the legal requirements and process for relocating with children during a divorce in Montana, as well as the potential implications for both parents and their parenting time. If you are going through a divorce and contemplating a relocation, we invite you to call our offices to schedule a consultation with an experienced Montana divorce lawyer.  

The Montana Relocation Statutes

In Montana, the relocation statutes aim to strike a balance between a parent’s right to move and the best interests of the child. As such, the statutes outline a notice process and a negotiation process for parents who wish to relocate with their children. 

The Notice Process

The notice process requires the relocating parent to provide written notice of their intent to move to the other parent. This notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and must be received by the other parent at least 30 days prior to the proposed move. The notice should include the following information: 

  • The intended moving date; 
  • The new address, if known; 
  • The reasons for the move; and 
  • A proposed revised parenting plan, including any changes to the parenting time schedule.5 

The Negotiation Process

Once the non-relocating parent has received the notice, they have the opportunity to respond and negotiate a new parenting plan. If both parents can reach an agreement, they can submit the revised parenting plan to the court for approval. 

However, if the parents cannot reach an agreement, the relocating parent may need to file a motion with the court to modify the existing parenting plan. The court will then determine whether the proposed move is in the best interests of the child, taking into consideration factors such as: 

  • The reasons for the move; 
  • The impact of the move on the child’s relationship with both parents; 
  • The child’s preference, depending on their age and maturity; and 
  • The benefits of the move for the child, such as improved educational opportunities or an increased standard of living. 

It is important to note that the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child, and relocation may be denied if the move is deemed detrimental to the child’s well-being. 

How Can I Prepare Myself For Relocating During A Divorce in Montana?

If you are considering relocating during or after a divorce, it is crucial to plan ahead and be prepared for the legal process. Here are some steps you can take to help ensure a successful relocation: 

  • Document your reasons for the move. Make a list of the reasons behind your decision to relocate, such as job opportunities, family support, or a better quality of life. This can be helpful when presenting a case to the court. 
  • Research the new location. Gather information about schools, housing, and other resources in the new area to demonstrate how the move will benefit your child. 
  • Develop a detailed parenting plan. Draft a proposed revised parenting plan that takes into account the new location and any changes to parenting time. Be sure to consider transportation arrangements for visitation, as well as holidays and special occasions. 
  • Maintain open communication with the other parent. Keep the lines of communication open with your ex-spouse and make an effort to negotiate a revised parenting plan that works for both parties. The more amicable and cooperative you can be during this process, the more likely you are to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. 
  • Consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Relocation cases can be complex, and it is important to have knowledgeable legal representation. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and advocate for the best interests of your child. 

At BKBH, we understand that relocating with children during or after a divorce is a significant decision that can have lasting effects on your family. Our compassionate and experienced divorce attorneys are committed to providing the guidance and support you need to achieve a successful outcome. 

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced Montana Divorce Relocation Lawyer Today.

Navigating the relocation process during a divorce can be complex, making it essential to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side to ensure your rights and the best interests of your child are protected. At BKBH, our team of dedicated divorce lawyers has extensive experience handling relocation cases in Montana, and we are here to help you through this challenging time. 

If you are considering relocating with your child during or after a divorce, we invite you to call BKBH to schedule a consultation. We can provide guidance on the Montana relocation statutes, help prepare the necessary documentation, and represent your interests in court if necessary. Together, we can work toward a brighter future for you and your child.