This past month, Missouri courts published opinions on two cases both dealing with the relocation law in Missouri child custody and support modification cases. Missouri has multiple rules regarding the requirements of a relocation notice from one parent to another when one parent intends to move after a dissolution. Because the parents involved in the above mentioned cases did not understand the language of this law, they put themselves in less optimal positions in regards to custody of their children and their finances than they otherwise could have been in had they understood this law and how it applied to their situations. The language of this statute can today be found on many parenting plans, especially in St. Louis County because the form required there for the past few years includes this language.
Regardless however of whether this is explicitly stated in your specific parenting plan, this does bind you as a parent when you plan to relocate. That means that yes, there are implicit requirements that you must comply with that you may not remember your attorney advising you of in your initial post-dissolution exit interview or that may never have known about.
The fact that most parenting plans now include this language is meant to help parents recognize their obligations and having this in the parenting plan form is a great step toward allowing parents to be able to manage their own children's lives without the necessity for even a single court date. The language in the law itself is meant to allow parent-litigants to change a custody arrangement with minimal court participation, if parents can agree on a new parenting plan to accommodate the move of the one parent.
If you feel confused about the requirements even after reading the language in your parenting plan or if you do not know what the requirements are, you would not be the first parent. Even though the relocation statute does afford parents the opportunity to change the schedule with minimal court intervention, it is a good idea at the very least to consult an attorney regarding the notice requirement for relocation and the filing requirement if a new parenting plan is necessary. That consultation may just save you from going back to court and reliving the messy custody issues in your initial paternity or dissolution proceeding. Even if that is not an option, it might save you from losing some of your custody rights due to an improper notice.