My son is moving to another state with his mom. Can we make the move without going through the courts?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

My ex and I divorced in Missouri when our son was 9. She had custody of our child when I moved to Kentucky. When our son was 13, my ex moved out of state to Wisconsin but he wanted to move to Kentucky with me. We went through the Missouri courts to change custody. When he turned 15, he decided he wanted to move to Wisconsin to be with his Mom.

Is there some other way to handle the move without going through the court system again?


First let me preface my answer by stating that even though I am licensed to practice law in the state of Kentucky, I am unable to provide you with specific advice as I am unaware of all the facts and issues that may affect your case.

Child custody is generally controlled by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which most states have adopted. This Act provides that the Court that initially determined child custody retains jurisdiction until it decides that it does not want to exercise jurisdiction anymore.

Given that both you and your ex-wife no longer live in the state of Missouri, it would be possible to Petition a Court in Wisconsin or Kentucky to assume jurisdiction. You would need to speak to an attorney in these states to determine the process in that state.

However, if you are not modifying child support or anything else, it may be possible for you and your ex-wife to agree in writing to the modification without involving the Court. It would be important to have it in writing, in case an issue were to arise in the future. You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction as to what your best option may be.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kent., office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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One comment on “My son is moving to another state with his mom. Can we make the move without going through the courts?

    I am in Texas. My son is 14cyears old. And he wants to come with me. His dad left my son with his ex wife .. and he has been gone for 2 years. Can I keep my son with me. Or do I have to go to court

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