New Wisconsin Statute Changes Procedures to Move a Child’s Residence

Governor Walker recently signed into law a Bill that changes the procedures that parents must follow in order to move or relocate with a child when both parents are granted any periods of physical placement. This change went into effect April 5, 2018, and affects any new actions, filed with the Court, requesting to move with a child. The new statute, Section 767.481, Wisconsin Stats., applies to cases that are originally commenced on or after April 5, 2018, or cases in which legal custody or physical placement order is modified on or after April 5, 2018. However, it is still somewhat unclear as to which cases this new statute applies to, and to which cases the previous statute still applies.

The previous move or relocation statute required that a parent seeking to move more than 150 miles or out of state to follow strict guidelines to provide notice to the non-moving parent of the intended move. The new statute requires that a parent seeking to move more than 100 miles from the other parent, regardless of whether or not that move includes crossing state lines, must file a motion with the court and include the following relocation plan:

  1. The date of the proposed relocation.
  2. The municipality and state of the proposed new residence.
  3. The reason for the relocation.
  4. If applicable, a proposed new placement schedule, including placement during the school year, summers, and holidays.
  5. The proposed responsibility and allocation of costs for each parent for transportation of the child between the parties under any proposed new placement schedule.

The new law also outlines how the parent not requesting a move must object to the move, which must be filed no less than 5 days before the initial court hearing. Also, parents are not required to file a motion if the parents already live more than 100 miles apart, however there are provisions requiring written notice in the event of a proposed moved.

The parties will attend an initial hearing within 30 days of the motion regarding the proposed move.  The Court will make a determination as to whether the proposed move is in the best interest of the child, or not. There are certain requirements outlined in the statute for the objecting parent to comply with such as the court may refer the parties to mediation, appoint a guardian ad litem, or set the matter for a further hearing to be held within 60 days of the initial hearing. The court can also temporarily allow the party child to move. The statute also outlines factors that the court shall consider in making a final decision to allow the child to move with the relocating parent at the final hearing.

This new relocation statute has a far reaching effect on how the court will now approach a parent’s request to relocate with minor child.  It is now even more difficult to move with a child out of state.  It is also unclear as to how the courts will interpret this new statute. These new requirements may have a direct effect on whether you, or your child’s other parent may move more than 100 miles away. If you are considering moving your residence with your child’s or believe that your spouse intends to move with your minor child, call us at (414) 258-1644 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.



34 thoughts on “New Wisconsin Statute Changes Procedures to Move a Child’s Residence

  1. I’m a father of 2. 17 and 12 my 21 relationship with my fiancé is almost over and she wants to move with our kids to Florida. I’m a very responsible father and I want to be present in my kids life. I don’t want that to happen. She’s a good mother I don’t have a problem with the kids living with her in Wisconsin. But moving out of state to Florida no I’m a good father too and I want to be part of their life too. She has medical issues and the excuse she’s given me is that the cold weather is affecting her.

    • The first question is whether you have been formally adjudicated the father. In other words, are there court orders regarding custody and placement? If so, she may be restricted by statute from moving to Florida without your consent. It really depends on the orders. If not, then you need to get into court ASAP on this to prevent her from moving. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible! Good luck.

  2. How about in cases of abuse and a parent is using illegal drugs, including abuse around the infant child ??? Would this new law make provisions concerning these factors?

    • If those factors were an issue in the case, then the offending parent would likely not have placement. And, the move provisions only apply if the other parent is awarded periods of placement. Further, the court would definitely take those into consideration when making the decision as to whether a parent would be allowed to move. Simply because a parent cannot move without permission does not mean that they will not be given that permission by the court.

  3. Is the Mothers need to move taken into any consideration? Say the parents have never been married are young and the father has decided he no longer wants the relationship with the mother has a new girl friend within days of the split up. The mothers family other then a grand parent are all in the neighboring state. The mother has only resided in WI for 2 years in which time she graduated high school meet the father became pregnant and after a short time living together and the child being born the father has a new girl friend and doesnt want to be with the mother but don’t want his children to move to Illinois?

    • I’m sorry but there are a lot of facts here to sort through and this forum is not set up to give legal advice as to a specific scenario. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area. Most family law attorneys offer free consultations.

  4. How about for a parent that wishes to move less than 100 miles away, but across state lines? Would the parent need to go through this procedure as well, or would they have to do something else?

      • So to clarify your answer, if the parent wants to move let’s say 60 miles away into IL (from WI), that is less than 100 miles. Therefore, no motion needs to be filed and the parent can just move since it is under 100 miles?

        • That is correct. However, a move less than 100 miles may still cause problems with a placement schedule, transportation, change of schools, etc. Those things still may need to be addressed by agreement or by the Court.

  5. If last placement change was made in 2016 and we are seeking to move out of state and are currently the primary placement parent does the old statue apply since the start of the case was in 2016 or does the new statue apply because the change in placement was filed after the 2018 law went into effect? Thanks!

  6. My brothers “wife” (have not been together for a long time and legally separated through the child support eyes) just took my niece and nephew out of the state and moved to Oregon without his knowledge. She has physical placement but he has rights too. Can we call the cops?

    • It is only a crime to hide the whereabouts of the children. If he knows where they are, his only option is to file a motion or action in family court. He should do this immediately!

      • Is it the same outcome if there’s joint custody between the parents and the parent with primary placement moves the child it of state without notifying anyone?

        • Custody has nothing to do with the determination. It is whether the other parent has awarded periods of placement. If so, then the primary placement parent needs to follow the statutory move procedures.

  7. My spouse and I are in the process of splitting up, and we have 4 minor children that will split 50/50 custody between us both. If in the future, I decide to move out of state by myself, am would that be possible? Or would I have to go through another court procedure?

    • If you don’t move with the children, there is no issue. However, you still have to deal with changing any placement schedule/orders and changing child support. So, my guess is that you still would end up back in court or trying to negotiate a Stipulation for new orders.

  8. I’m relocating for a job I’m the sole provider for our children and carry their insurance and other benefits for them. We have no custody agreement nor have we ever been to court to get any type of placement. Do I still need his permission to move or the states in that matter. I’d like some guidance please

  9. I’m wanting to relocate for a better job/life opportunity due to Covid and me not having any family here to help. I’ve been the one provider for our child and carry his insurance and other benefits for him. His father don’t. We have no custody agreement nor have we ever been to court to get any type of placement due to we was living together. Only thing we did was say he was the father that they do here. Do I still need his permission to move or the states in that matter. I’d like some guidance please

  10. If you have primary placement and custody with no visitation to the other parent awarded early 2019. Do you have to notify the other parent or courts to move?

    • The answer to this question is very fact specific; therefore, we cannot answer that, or give legal advice, on this forum. We would recommend you seek a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in your area.

  11. If I have Sole legal custody and
    Primary placement of my child can I move or do I need to get permission

    • I am sorry but I cannot answer that question. There are more facts which are needed which includes what type of action do you have, when the last order was entered and what placement does the father have or is ordered. Further, we cannot give you legal advice in this forum. I would strongly advise you consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area. Most family lawyers offer free consultations. They can at least give you some specifics to work from. Good luck.

  12. if there is custody agreement in place and the father of the child that only gets him everyother weeks moves out of the place that is on the court order and into a new place for 125 miles away with a girlfriend can he do that without giving the court his new address

    • He can move but you are entitled to know where your child is during his periods of placement. So, he needs to provide you with his address. If you are receiving child support from him, it may be updated on CCAP or with the Child Support Enforcement Agency in your county. If his move complicates the placement schedule or makes it impossible to work, that is a different issue and I would consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area about that issue.

  13. I might be moving to Flordia for a job. My girlfriend’s kid’s father is barely in their lives. He hasn’t seen his son since Christmas, and it’s been three months since he’s seen his daughter. There is a custody agreement, but he never comes to get them. He only gets them for things like Father’s Day and Christmas. What would she need to do to be able to move with me to Florida?

    • There are many factors that go into this kind of issue. Therefore, unfortunately, I cannot answer your question. I would suggest you consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area. Good luck.

  14. My divorce has been finalized in July 2021. I have sole custody and placement of my 3 children, in the agreement, she pays no child support or medical. Also, visitations are upon reasonable notice and approval. I’m looking to move in June 2022 with my girlfriend out of state. I offered summers and extended time off school and certain weekends if given time to plan for me to get them back. It’s 4 1\2 hours away. My kids adore the woman I’ve been seeing and say she’s more of a mother than their’s have ever been. But my ex is telling them she’s not going to allow it. Visitations are only as a convenience for her and doesn’t try unless I ask her to spend time with my oldest two. I’m not sure what my chances are going ahead on this, but it feels like I’m going to have to end the relationship we’ve all grown into. Lawyers are expensive.. hate to think of happiness is controlled by someone who only plays the part when they feel like it.

    • Under the statutes, you are required to give notice. If she objects, which sounds like she is, your only option to is file a motion to request permission to move. Whether you are granted permission by the court is very factual and depends on a variety of factors. You should seek consultation with an attorney in your county to determine whether you have a reasonable chance of succeeding on a motion. If you reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington or Ozaukee counties, we would be happy to help. Good luck!

We welcome your comments or questions. We will do our best to try to respond. However, please be advised that we cannot give legal advice in this forum and all communications are for general informational purposes only. Communication should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. This is an open forum and any information you provide may be posted and will not be held confidentially. By posting a comment or question, you are expressly giving consent for the publication of same. If you have any specific legal issues or concerns, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney in the county and state in which you reside.

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