Relocation and Child Custody

Child custody issues often occur when a divorced parent decides to relocate to another city out of state or, in some cases, within the same state, but more than 100 miles away. Relocation frequently happens when a parent has decided to take a new job or wants to live closer to family. When this decision is made, there is typically a custody hearing involved to determine what is fair for both parents.

Most divorces that involve children give both parents certain visitation or custody rights. According to Arizona law, both parents are entitled to reasonable parenting time in most cases. This ensures that children have frequent and continuing contact with the parents. Relocation by one of the parents disrupts this contact. The moving parent must be able to show that the move is in the best interests of the child.

Arizona law requires that the court hearing the custody matter consider the following:

  • The relationship of the child with the parents,
  • The wishes of the child as to the custodian depending upon age and maturity,
  • The interaction and relationship between the child and the child’s parent or parent’s the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community,
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved,
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent,
  • Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care for the child,
  • The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement re 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 child abuse or neglect

When the divorce decree states that both parents are entitled to custody or parenting time, the parent who is moving must provide a 60-day written notice to the other parent unless a provision for relocation exists in the parenting plan or court order at the time of the divorce. The non-moving parent then has 30 days to request a hearing to prevent the relocation.

It’s a very good idea to consult with a family law attorney if you are either looking to relocate or your child’s other parent is planning to relocate. Motions and notices must be submitted correctly and in a timely fashion. Relocating with your child without providing the right notice will hurt you. The courts do not take this lightly and will move swiftly to make changes in your custody rights. Please give us a call to discuss your plans. On the other hand, if your child’s parent is planning to relocate with your child, contact us right away so we can file a motion to prevent the relocation.

An experienced family law attorney such as Brad Crider of Crider Law will take the time to review the facts surrounding your case and help you see a fair outcome.

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