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Legal Information: Kansas


Laws current as of November 15, 2023

How can an order of custody, residency, or parenting time be changed?

A judge can change an order of custody, residency, or parenting time if you can show that the significant circumstances have changed from when the order was issued.1 The judge may change the order if s/he believes it is in the best interest of the child. One example of a “change in circumstances” might be when the other parent violates your current custody order or tries to interfere with your rights to see your child.

One thing you can request as part of a modification petition, for example, could be to make the exchange of the children at a child exchange and visitation center if the other parent is being abusive during the exchange of the child.2

To get a custody or residency order changed, you may need to file a “motion to modify a final order pertaining to child custody or residential placement.” In this motion, the will be a place for you to explain how your circumstances have changed. If a judge finds that your request for a change in your custody order is reasonable, s/he should grant a hearing. At the end of this hearing, a judge may decide to either change your custody order or keep it the way that it was.

For more information on filing for change in custody, we recommend contacting a lawyer. Please see our KS Finding a Lawyer page for legal help in your area.

1 Kan. Stat. § 23-3218(a)
2 Kan. Stat. § 23-3221

If there is a custody order in place, can I move or take my kids out of the state?

If you want to change the child’s residence within Kansas or take your child out of Kansas for more than 90 days, you will need to inform your child’s other parent by mail at least 30 days before you plan on moving or leaving the state. The notice that you send to the other parent must be sent by restricted mail, “return receipt.”.1 If you do not give notice to your child’s other parent, you may possibly be held in civil contempt. You may also have to pay the other parent for his/her attorney’s fees.2

However, if you have legal custody or residency of the child, you are not required to give this type of notice to the other parent when the other parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes in which the child is the victim of such crime:

  • violent crimes, listed here (chapter 21, article 54);
  • sex offenses, listed here (chapter 21, article 55);
  • crimes against children, listed here (chapter 21, article 56);
  • unlawful disclosure of tax information (21-6104);
  • unlawful interference with a firefighter (21-6325);
  • unlawful interference with an emergency medical services attendant (21-6326);
  • permitting a dangerous animal to be at large (21-6418);
  • prostitution (21-6419);
  • promoting prostitution (21-6420);
  • patronizing a prostitute (21-6421); or
  • commercial sexual exploitation of a child (21-6422).3

If you believe that the other parent was convicted of one of these crimes listed above, we suggest checking with an attorney to see if there are any other steps that you must take. You can find legal referrals on our KS Finding a Lawyer page.

Note: The other parent can ask the court to change the existing order of custody, residency, child support or parenting time based on your planned move. When deciding whether to change the order, the judge will consider:

  • how move affects the best interests of the child;
  • how the move affects the rights of the other parent or anyone else with rights to the child; and
  • how much more money the move would cost the other parent when seeing the child.4

We recommend getting an attorney to help you before you try to file anything. Please see KS Finding a Lawyer page for legal help in your area.

1 Kan. Stat. § 23-3222(a)
2 Kan. Stat. § 23-3222(b)
3 Kan. Stat. § 23-3222(d)
4 Kan. Stat. § 23-3222(c)

If I move to a new state, can I transfer my child custody case there?

After a final custody order is issued, there may come a time when you and your children move to a different state. For information about how to request to transfer the custody case to a new state, please go to the Transferring a custody case to a different state section in our general Custody page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may likely first need to get permission from the court or from the other parent to move your children out of state. Please talk to a lawyer to make sure your plans to move don’t violate your custody order or your state’s parental kidnapping laws.