Since the Kansas City metro area is located on the state line between Missouri and Kansas, it is not uncommon for a parent to move from Missouri to Kansas or from Kansas to Missouri. This crossing of state lines can raise additional questions and issues for divorced or divorcing parents with minor children in the home.

Regardless of whether or not state lines are crossed, a parent who wants to relocate the children’s home has to comply with certain statutory requirements. In Missouri, you must send the other parent notice of the intended relocation by certified mail at least 60 days before the intended move. This mailing must include: your new intended address, your new intended phone number, the date you intend to relocate, an explanation as to why you are relocating, and what changes you would propose to the current parenting plan. Once your notice has been sent to the other parent, the other parent has 30 days to file an objection to the relocation.  If there is a timely objection, you bear the burden of proving to the Court that the relocation is in the best interest of the child.

In Kansas, you must send the other parent notice of relocation via certified mail at least 30 days before the intended move. This then opens the door for either parent to file a motion to modify the custody and parenting plan provisions based on the relocation.

Although the procedures in Kansas and Missouri are slightly different, in both states, a relocation almost always opens the parenting plan up for potential modification. For most situations, the crossing of a state line between Kansas and Missouri does not really change the analysis of relocating a child’s home. The Court is still likely to focus on factors such as the distance between the parents, potential changes in the child’s school enrollment, and distance to the child’s other activities. Judges are unlikely focus on which side of the state line a relocation falls on when a parent remains within close proximity to the other parent.

While the state line may not play a big factor in a relocation case, it can have a significant effect on which Court has jurisdiction of future modifications. Missouri and Kansas both follow national uniform codes that govern which state has jurisdiction of child custody proceedings and child support proceedings. While the rules of these codes are too complex to be detailed in this blog post, if everyone leaves the state that entered the original order of child custody or child support, there is a risk of losing jurisdiction. As just one example, if Dad lives in Kansas and Mom lives in Missouri, and the parties are divorced in Missouri, but Mom subsequently moves to Kansas, the proper jurisdiction for future modifications of child custody and child support has likely moved from Missouri to Kansas, which can have significant implications for either parent.

If you are considering a relocation in the Kansas City area and would like more information on the proper procedure to relocate and the implications of same, please contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer who has experience handling family law cases on both sides of the state line.

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