In deciding a relocation request, the family court must make specific findings on the record as to all relevant factors and the reasons its decision is in the best interests of the children. A.R.S. §25-408 sets forth the factors pertaining specifically to a relocation and also incorporates by reference the best interest factors from A.R.S. §25-403. According to A.R.S. §25-408(G), the moving party has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, what is in the children’s best interests. In addition, to the extent possible, the court must also make appropriate arrangements to ensure the continuation of a meaningful relationship between the children and both parents.
In determining the children’s best interests, the Court must consider all relevant factors, including the following:
The wishes of the children's parent or parents as to custody.
The wishes of the children as to the custodian.
The interaction and interrelationship of the children with the children's parent or parents, the children's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the children's best interest.
The children's adjustment to home, school and community.
The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
Which parent is more likely to allow the children frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the children from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or children abuse.
Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the children.
The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody.
Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of children abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.
Whether there has been domestic violence or children abuse as defined in section 25-403.03.
Whether the relocation is being made or opposed in good faith and not to interfere with or to frustrate the relationship between the children and the other parent or the other parent's right of access to the children.
The prospective advantage of the move for improving the general quality of life for the custodial parent or for the children.
The likelihood that the parent with whom the children will reside after the relocation will comply with parenting time orders
Whether the relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for parenting time with each parent.
The extent to which moving or not moving will affect the emotional, physical or developmental needs of the children.
The motives of the parents and the validity of the reasons given for moving or opposing the move including the extent to which either parent may intend to gain a financial advantage regarding continuing children support obligations.
The potential effect of relocation on the children's stability.
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