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How do I get permission from my child's other parent?

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

Before you ask your child's other parent for permission, think about:

  • how your move will change the parenting time schedule your child has with their other parent,
  • how you can make up for time they will lose,
  • what the new parenting time schedule should be,
  • how you will share information about your child's health and welfare, like medical information and report cards, and,
  • if there will be new costs, like who will pay for your child to travel between their parents homes, or for phone or video calls.
     

If your child's other parent agrees to let you move with your child, you do not need to ask the court for permission.  You can:

  • Work out an agreement with the other parent yourself. Or,
  •  Use a mediator to help you work out an agreement. The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court mediators do not cost you anything.

Put your agreement in writing:

  • Put your agreement in writing so you have a clear record of the things you each agreed to.
  • Put the new schedule in your agreement if your move changes your parenting time schedule.
  • Both parents must sign the agreement in front of a notary.
  • Make copies of the agreement. One for each parent.

A written agreement signed by the other parent should be enough.  But if you already have an ongoing case, it is best to file the agreement with the court.

File the agreement with the court:

  1. File the original agreement with the court or probate registry in the county where your child lives.
  2. If you think the other parent may change their mind, ask the court to make the agreement an order. File a “Joint Complaint for a Modification.” See Changing a Judgment or Order by Agreement. See a blank agreement.

Important

If the other parent makes you feel unsafe, unheard, or will take over the session and stop you from making your points, mediation is not a good idea. Talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can communicate your wishes to the other parent for you, so your safety is not as much at risk.

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