In an ideal world, parents would stay close by and raise their children together after a divorce. However, this does not always happen. A parent may need to move out of state for various reasons. Maybe they got an offer for a dream job. Or perhaps they want to move closer to family. This is called parental relocation, and it can be a complex situation for all involved. The parents and children will be affected. Custody arrangements will likely have to change.
When deciding on relocation, you need to ensure you follow the rules. You cannot just move at will. You have to get permission either from the other parent or from the court. The court does not make quick decisions. They want to really assess your situation and ensure that the best interests of the children are in mind. After all, you will be uprooting the children from their home, their school, their friends, and their community. A move is a major decision that should not be taken lightly.
A court cannot deny parental relocation but they can deny that the children relocate. What this means is that a parent can relocate without the children. The judge can limit the relocation by permitting the children to move or denying permission. If they are denied permission, the parent can move but the children would have to remain with the other parent.
Parental Relocation: Relocating Minor Children
If you want to move your minor children much further away from the other parent, you need to get permission from the court. You must have an existing parenting time order in place and you must file your paperwork with the same court in which you got the original parenting time order.
Whether or not you and the other parent agree on the move, you will need to get permission from the court using the appropriate form. In any case, the parent requesting the relocation will need to provide the other parent with the following information:
- Written notice of the intent
- The location where the party intends to reside
- The reason for the relocation
- A proposed revised parenting plan
These items must be presented to the other spouse. It is then up to them to decide whether or not they accept this plan. You should plan to submit this prior to filing a Motion to Relocate the Minor Child(ren). If your spouse does not consent to the plan, You can still file a Motion to Relocate the Minor Child(ren) as you planned. However, you will attend a court hearing, which can delay the relocation process and affect your plans.
The judge will listen to your relocation request and consider the following when making a decision:
- The reasons for the non-custodial parent’s objection
- The quality of relationships that the child has had with each parent
- Educational opportunities that will be present for the child in the relocation area
- The child’s benefits while living with the custodial parent
- How the new visitation schedule affects the non-custodial parent’s time with the child
- Any extended family in the new location
- The overall impact of relocation on the child
There is a lot involved with a relocation request. Do not try to take shortcuts. Do not try to file a child custody modification request. That is not sufficient under Colorado law. If the move takes the child to a different geographic location, then the parent needs to file a motion for relocation, especially if they plan to move out of state.
Also, do not attempt to move without permission. It is illegal for a parent to relocate with a child during or after a divorce. The type of custody the parent has does not matter. The parent must still go through the proper channels to receive permission to move, especially out of state. Relocating with a child without permission is considered to be kidnapping, which is a crime in all 50 states. A parent could lose custody and even get jail time and other punishment.
Contact Us Today
Parental relocation in Colorado can be a complex situation, especially when one parent wants to move and the other does not.
The team at Tanis McGonegal can help you. When relocation is a possibility, our Colorado family law attorneys will serve as effective advocates for you, no matter what your position is. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (303) 465-4605.