When Life Requires a Move
Life circumstances can change overnight, and with big life events can come other big decisions. If a custodial parent gets a job out of state, for example, that new job might require relocation. But with that potential move comes a whole host of questions about what to do about the custody agreement and the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. We gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and answered them here.
Am I Even Allowed to Relocate?
You are allowed to relocate with your child(ren), but you must consider all of the legal issues surrounding your plans. Any move that creates a geographic distance between the child and non-custodial parent requires either consent from the non-custodial parent or permission from the court. If this request goes to court because the non-custodial parent does not give permission, then the judge will make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child in question.
How Do I Begin the Process?
Colorado law requires that the custodial parent wishing to relocate provide the non-custodial parent with the following information presented in writing:
The requested plan to relocate from the custodial parent.
The location of the new home for the child.
The reasons for relocation (new job, new spouse, etc.).
A proposal for a new visitation and parenting schedule for the non-custodial parent.
These items must be written out in detail and presented to the non-custodial spouse. It is then up to him or her on whether or not they choose to accept this plan. You should plan to submit this prior to filing a Motion to Relocate the Minor Child(ren).
What If My Spouse Refuses to Consent to Relocation?
You can still file a Motion to Relocate the Minor Child(ren) as you planned. However, you should plan your move more carefully, as you will attend a hearing in court, which may drag out the process and affect your plans.
How Will a Judge Hear My Request?
A judge hearing your relocation request will listen to your reasons for relocating as well as your plan for the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule. The judge will also consider several issues surrounding the potential relocation:
The reasons for the non-custodial parent’s objection to the relocation.
The history of and quality of relationships that the child has had with each parent since the divorce.
Any beneficial educational opportunities that will be present for the child in the area of relocation.
The child’s benefits while living with the custodial parent and if said benefits would be impacted by the relocation
If the new visitation schedule provides the non-custodial parent with meaningful time with the child.
Any extended family in the new location.
Overall impact of relocation on the child mentally or emotionally.
Ultimately, the judge will consider if accompanying the relocating parent is in the best interest of the child when making a final determination.
Can I Just Seek a Custody Modification Instead?
No. Colorado law requires this type of relocation motion if the move takes the child to a different geographic location. While a move within the state could allow for a simple custody modification request, an out-of-state relocation does require the motion for relocation.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Absolutely! Child custody cases can be extremely complex, especially those involving relocation, and trying to handle the case on your own will add a great deal of stress to your life on top of figuring out your move. Hiring an attorney to oversee your case and to help you navigate the process is essential to ensuring compliance to the legal requirements present in Colorado.
If you are facing a potential relocation and need legal representation in court, contact Denver Family Lawyers today to speak with an attorney about your case. Call (303) 225-3343 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.