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Can non-custodial parent contest Relocation of custodial parent if they did not respond to Motion within time allotted?

Denver, CO |

I am custodial parent seeking to Relocate with my children to another state. I am representing myself and submitted the Motion to the Colorado courts. I sent her a copy certified and e-mail, yet she never responded to me or the courts within the 15 days she was allotted. I then received a call from the clerk to set a date for hearing and contacted my ex to set up a date. She then hired an attorney and I am not sure what she can do to contest the move. I am afraid that her attorney will keep pushing the court date back and I will never be able to move my kids to be with me. I thought if you didn't respond that you could not contest the motion in court??

Attorney Answers 2


The failure to respond to a motion does not automatically result in the Court granting the motion. Due to the issue involved, relocation matters usually require a hearing in front of a Judge.

Rules for Relocating: Relocation is an issue the Colorado courts have reviewed numerous times. In 2005, the Colorado Supreme Court issued two rulings that dealt with relocating parents who share children.

In one ruling, the Court distinguished between relocation of a parent during the initial divorce and relocation of a parent after parenting time has been established. The Court determined that in an initial custody proceeding, it would be easier for a parent to move, and the parties would have to address change during their initial parenting plan.

But after initial parenting time is established, the Court determined that more stringent standards for relocation should apply because the parties and children would already be accustomed to a parenting time schedule, and the children would have established a different relationship with the majority time parent that did not exist at the time of the initial proceeding.

In a case involving modification to an existing custody agreement, the Court found that three competing interests must be considered: the majority time parent’s right to travel; the minority time parent’s right to parent; and the children’s best interests.

The Supreme Court ruling mandated that 21 factors be considered to determine if relocation is in the children’s best interests. The factors include the reasons for the relocation, educational opportunities in each location, and the past involvement of each of the parties with the children.

Children’s Best Interest: During a parenting time procedure modification, both parties are required to actively present information and facts demonstrating how the children’s best interests will be served by relocating or by remaining in place. Even if you are not the moving party, you will still have to present evidence of what parenting plan or parenting arrangement will best serve the children and why.

Relocation cases can be difficult and you should obtain the assistance of an attorney who can help you present your case to the Court .

Glen B. Goldman

Legal disclaimer: Answering this quetion does not establish an attorney client relation. The answer is for educational purposes only. You should consult an attorney for your specific circumstances.

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The courts are very reluctant to decide family law motions by default. The best interests of the children are at stake. The court is likely to give some leeway if the response is filed a little bit late - particularly if you did not file a motion for default before the response was actually filed.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

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