Wisconsin’s Laws on Moving Minor Children More Than 100 Miles Away From Your Ex


A custody agreement is based on the circumstances of the family dynamic at a particular time. New jobs and remarriages shake up the status quo by requiring the parent with primary custody, or the custodial parent, to move.

On one hand, the relocating parent has the right to live a full life as a sovereign individual. On the other, non-custodial parents have a right to be heard during major changes regarding their children. Wisconsin family law statutes are steadfast in balancing accountability and personal liberty of its residents.

Wisconsin’s Legal Requirements on Parental Relocation with Minor Children

Wisconsin does not allow custodial parents to move the children away from the other parent by over 100 miles. Approval to move the child further than this distance requires court approval. Lawmakers revised our state’s parental relocation codes to:

  • Accommodate a formalized notification process;
  • Reduce the mileage parameter in which a custodial parent can move;and
  • Provide definitive relocation information to the other parent well in advance.

The more recent amendments to laws regarding the relocation of minors apply to orders and amendments that occurred on or after April 5, 2018. Part of the new notification process includes filing a motion in the correct jurisdiction. A judge may hold you in contempt of court for not following procedural rules. You may also face consequences such as a change in placement and/or loss of placement time with your child.

How to File a Motion to Relocate Your Minor Children in Wisconsin

The parent who is relocating must file a Motion to Relocate Minor Children in the county of current residency or where the judge signed the agreement. You only need to file the motion if the child is being relocated further than 100 miles away from his or her other parent. Even if you are moving less than 100 miles away, however, in practical terms placement will likely need to be changed if your move involves a move in school district. You will need to file a different motion to change placement.

The motion requires an individual to provide a relocation plan. The attached relocation plan should provide reasonable details regarding the relocation request, including the following:

  • Reason and circumstances regarding the move;
  • Physical and mailing address of the children;
  • Proposed and revised visitation schedule;
  • Costs associated with relocation; and
  • Transportation of the children to the new home.

Next, the relocating parent files a copy of the conformed motion and other required documents to the other parent. Using a process server or certified, return-receipt requested mail is one way to prevent claims he or she did not receive proper notice. The court clerk schedules a hearing within 30 days of filing.

The Child’s Other Biological Parent Has the Legal Right to Object

Wisconsin family court judges make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. The non-relocating parent has the option to object to your relocation. No matter which side of the coin you are on, Discuss your legal options with an experienced Wisconsin child custody attorney.

The legal team at Otto & Steiner Law, S.C. provides legal support to families in Western Wisconsin during major life transitions. Schedule a consultation with our office by calling (715) 201-6884 or by sending us a quick note here.

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