Legal Information: Montana


November 18, 2022

If a parent wants to relocate with the child, what factors will a judge consider?

If one parent has changed or intends to change the child’s residence in a manner that significantly affects the child’s contact with the other parent, the just must consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to allow the relocation:

  • how easy or hard it will be to keep the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through visitation arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties;
  • the reasons of each parent for wanting or opposing the change of residence;
  • whether the relocating parent has shown a willingness to promote the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent;
  • whether reasonable alternatives to the proposed change of residence are available to the parent seeking to relocate.
  • the factors listed in How will a judge make a decision about a parenting plan (custody)? and the potential impact of the relocation on those factors;
  • whether the parents agree to the proposed change;
  • whether the child has been included (integrated) in the family of the petitioner with the consent of the parents;
  • whether the child wants the proposed change - but this only will be considered when the child is 14 years of age or older; or
  • whether one parent has willfully and consistently:
    • refused to allow the child to have any contact with the other parent; or
    • attempted to deny contact between the child and the other parent or make contact difficult.1 If a parent does either of these things, the judge will assume that the parent was not acting in the child’s best interests.1

1 R.C.M. § 40-4-219(1)(b)

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