Relocation: Moving When There Are Court Orders
Once parenting time and legal decision-making orders are made, moving is not quite as easy as picking up and going unless you are moving less than 100 miles. Relocating with a child requires providing notice to the nonmoving parent, and perhaps, even going to court to determine if relocation should
Relocation Requires Written NoticeArizona law requires that written notice must be given to the nonmoving parent if you plan to move more than 100 miles or out of state with the child. The law specifies that the notice must be sent certified return receipt mail 45 days in advance of the move. The nonmoving parent then has thirty days after the notice to file to prevent relocation.
Petitions for RelocationEither parent may file a petition with the court: the moving parent may file a motion to relocate, or the nonmoving parent can file a motion to prevent relocation. In either case, the court must determine if the relocation is in the child's best interest. Best interest factors include the child's relationship with each parent and extended family, the child's adjustment, the child's wishes, the physical and mental health of all parties, whether domestic violence has occurred, and which parent is more likely to allow the other parent contact. (See our post, "'Custody' in Arizona"). In addition to the best interest factors, the court must consider additional factors in making a relocation determination. These additional factors include:
o Whether the request to relocate is made in good faith
o The prospective advantages of the move
o The likelihood that the moving parent will comply with orders
o Whether relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for both parents to parent
o The extent to which the move may affect the child's emotional and physical needs and development
o The motives of the parents
o The effect of relocation on the child's stability
The parent requesting relocation has the burden of showing that relocation is in the child's best interest.
Parenting Across State LinesThe parenting time plan in effect at the time of the move must remain in effect unless you modify the parenting time plan. It is very challenging to parent across state lines, and such big moves generally require that the parenting plan is also modified.
Relocation: A Complex Legal IssueRelocation is a complex legal issue, and a lot is at risk. If you are interested in learning more about Relocation or if you have other questions or concerns about a family law matter, please contact the Law Office of Keith A. Singer at 520-795-1800.