You and your ex-spouse probably spent a significant amount of time hammering out your parenting time arrangement. Whether it was in your child’s best interests to share joint custody or to have one parent take on the role of custodial parent, your agreement reflects what was managable for your lives during that period.
However, life is not static. You may have gone through significant changes since your divorce that can impact your current parenting arrangement. This is especially true if you are moving.
What if my move will affect my custody arrangement?
Sometimes a move is inevitable. You might have received a lucrative job offer or need to move closer to a sick family member. This can be complicated if you have physical custody of your child, as a long-distance move will more than likely affect the other parent’s poarenting time as your current plan will no longer be feasible. When a relocation with substantially change the ties between the child and the other parent, mothers and fathers are required to (1) get the other parent’s agreement; or (2) get a court order permitting the relocation with the children.
As a best-case scenario, the noncustodial parent can give express consent to the move. However, he or she may choose object to the move, even if you are moving out-of-state to an area that you think is better for your child. This objection can put your plans on hold.
My ex objected to our move. What happens now?
If your ex objected to the move, the matter will go through the family law courts. A judge will consider the child’s best interests when deciding how the potential move fits. A judge may ask you to provide proof of good faith before he or she approves the move and change in custody.
A judge may also decide that the move is not in your child’s best interests. If this happens, the judge will likely order your children to stay in Colorado. This means you will need to stay in Colorado and maintain your current child custody arrangement, or otherwise agree that your children will reside primarily with the other parent if you still intend to move. Because citizens generally have a constiutional to move between states, a court cannot order a parent to remain in Colorado, just the children.
Your future matters
Even if the benefits of a move seem obvious to you, family law courts are not necessarily eager to have children move significant distances from parents. Life is not perfect, though, in many cases an out-of-state move with the primary parent is the best option for children.
Representation from a knowledgable and skilled lawyer wtih experience in relocation matters will be invaluable for achieving the best possible outcome. When non-custodial parents do not give express consent for a move, it is typically very difficult to litigate these matters on your own and it is best to be represented by an experienced attorney who will able to make the proper legal arguments and put on the most persuasive case possible to the judge given your paticular facts and circumstances.