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What if I just want to move to another part of Massachusetts?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts
Reviewed June 2023

You do not need to ask for permission to move your child within Massachusetts if your child’s parenting time will stay the same. And:

  • You are not making any “major decisions” for your child alone, like changing their school. Or,
  • You have sole physical and legal custody

If parenting time will change, or you are making "major decisions," it does not matter if you stay in the state or move out of the state. You need to discuss the change with the other parent or ask for permission if:

  • The other parent has legal custody and the move changes a “major decision” in your child’s life like their school.
  • The move means your child's time with their other parent may change. If the distance is far, a judge will look at the move the same way they look at moving out of state.

Any time you change your child’s parenting time schedule without the other parent's agreement, you risk the court holding you in contempt.

If you need to move so far away that you cannot keep the same parenting time schedule, it may be a good idea to get a temporary custody order before you leave. If you get a temporary order, you have the court's permission. See What if I do not get permission to move out of Massachusetts with my child?.


Before you move with your child away from your child’s other parent, no matter what your situation, talk to a lawyer. Even if you only plan to move to a different part of Massachusetts. A lawyer's advice could save you and your child from some serious problems.

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