For many Mississippi residents who go through a divorce, several years of life are still ahead of them. Many of the new opportunities that these news years might bring could potentially impact any ongoing relationships that they maintain with their ex-spouses. Chief among these is the chance to move away.
This is especially true when it comes to a custody arrangement. While a relocation within the same general area will often not spark any legal issues related to custody, a move out of the state almost certainly will. According to information shared by Moving.com, roughly 15% of relocations in the U.S. every year fall into this category. The question then becomes how does the court treat such action?
No formal law in Mississippi
Unlike many other states in the U.S., Mississippi has no formal law related to parental relocation. What this means is that (in general), one party to a custody agreement is not prohibited from relocating without it drastically impacting their arrangement. This does not necessarily mean, however, that there may be no legal barriers to one’s proposed move. Other parties to the same arrangement may object to it, questioning the relocating parent’s motives. In such instances, the court typically considers whether the move might be in the best interests of the children involved.
How does the court determine a child’s “best interest?”
Local state Supreme Court rulings set the standard for best interest. These include:
- The age, sex and general health status of the parents and children involved
- Which parent served as their primary caregiver (and shows the greatest willingness to fill that role)
- Each parent’s respective employment situation
- The children’s scholastic records
- The children’s general wishes (when mature enough to express them)
If the relocating parent’s motives appear in conflict with these interests, the court may alter their custody arrangement in light of the move.