I got divorced in Fall River, Massachusetts, which was finalized two years ago. The court has giving me physical custody, but legal custody has been granted to me and my ex. My ex has visitation on the weekends and one night a week, which we both agreed to. I’m tired of living in this area and I have friends who live down in Florida who say the give me a place to stay if I move down there. Can I move out of state and go down to Florida, I think would be in the best interest of my child? What are my rights?
First of all the core is not going to look at your rights, they’re going to look at what’s in the best interest of the child. Massachusetts is notorious for not allowing parents to move out of state without an extremely good reason which greatly benefits the child’s well-being. Massachusetts always wants to keep jurisdiction over families, especially when children are involved. With a good attorney, there can be numerous arguments made in your favor, but that will be a long difficult fight. Basically the Family Court judge is going to look at your reason for moving and how this will benefit the child. It’s also going to look at the child custody and child visitation schedule that you had agreed to in court. You simply can’t agree on one thing, have it become a court order and then decide a year down the line you want to change things simply because you feel like it. There must be a valid reason. One good reason is that you have a very high paying job already waiting for you in another state and you are willing to make arrangements to a sure that your ex gets to see their child. But the simple fact is the court is not going to take a child away from one parent, simply because the other parent wants to move out of state and move in with some friends. Once you have children, in the Family Court’s eyes your life is dedicated to them and not the other way around. The court will always look at what’s in the best interest of a child and taking a child away from one of the parents is almost never in the child’s best interest. If the other parent is a great parent, sees the child all the time, spend a lot of time with their child and faithfully pays child support, you have very little chance of being able to take that child out of state to a location where it would be very difficult for the other parent to see the child. I think it’s safe to say that you have absolutely no chance at it, if you do not have an experienced lawyer representing you in the matter.
Always remember in the court’s eyes it’s what’s in the best interest of the child, parents and their interest really do not come into the equation in such matters. And the Massachusetts Family Court system, the child is the number one responsibility.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723