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How do I show the judge why I want to move?

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

The judge needs to know that you have “good, sincere reasons” for wanting to move.

Important: If you have

  • sole custody, or
  • the judge considers how you parent like you have sole custody,

then if the move is good for you, the judge will assume that the move will also be good for your child. Then the move is a “real advantage.” This is part of being in your child’s best interest.


Tell the judge in your affidavit and at court:

  • Details about why you want to move.
  • How you thought through your plan to move.
  • If you can, tell the judge your child will have a stable home. Once you move, your child will not have to move again.
  • Detailed information about your plans and the arrangements you have already made.
  • How the move will be good for your child and you.


Good reasons to move are:

  • You have a good job offer or you know opportunities in the new state are better than they are in Massachusetts.
  • The move means you will not struggle with money as much as you do now.
  • Your current employer wants you to transfer to the new state.
  • Your current employer says you have to move if you want to keep your job.
  • You have a good educational opportunity in the new state. For example, you have been accepted by a school in that state.
  • Your child has a good educational opportunity in the new state.  For example, your child can go to a particular school that is better than the school they go to in Massachusetts. Or your child can go to a school that meets your child’s special needs.
  • You have a supportive community in the other state, including family, friends, social service programs, and religious bodies. This is especially important if you do not have a supportive community in Massachusetts.
  • Your family and friends in the new state are ready and able to take care of you and your child.  For example, they can support you emotionally and offer childcare.
  • Moving provides a chance for your child to get to know and spend time with your child’s extended family.
  • You have a home or apartment waiting for you in the other state.
  • You lived in the other state most of your life and all of your contacts are there. If you only moved to Massachusetts because of your child’s other parent, tell the judge.
  • You have good medical reasons for moving to the other state. For example, you are moving to Florida because your child’s doctor told you your child would be healthier in a warmer climate. Or,
  • You are remarrying and your new spouse lives out of state.

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