Parental Relocations: What You Need to Know

After a couple divorces, circumstances are going to change – it’s inevitable. Often, such changes include a remarriage, a new house, new schools, new friends, new jobs, and even a relocation. Sometimes, the custodial parent (the parent who has the children most of the time and receives child support) wants to move to another county or another state, and this can have a significant impact on the existing child custody arrangement.

If a custodial parent wishes to relocate, the non-custodial parent may object to the move, especially if he or she is actively involved in the children’s lives. Whether or not the non-custodial parent “verbally objects” to a relocation, the custodial parent should not relocate with the children until after receiving the court’s blessing and a child custody modification. Otherwise, the custodial parent may be setting themselves up for a legal battle down the road.

Common Reasons for Parental Relocation

Why do custodial parents relocate? In most cases, it has to do with a remarriage, a new job, or wanting to move back home to be closer to family, who can help with childcare and providing the children with an emotional support system. But, are those good enough reasons to allow a parent to relocate with the kids? If the move would give the children better educational and economic opportunities, the courts may permit the move.

Move-away actions are handled on a case-by-case basis. Before rendering a decision, the Family Court looks at the totality of the circumstances. In all situations, the Court strives to reach a decision that is in the “best interests of the children.” The following are some of the factors the Court will consider when deciding on a move-away case:

  • What is the actual child custody arrangement?
  • What does each parent want?
  • What are the reasons for the move?
  • What is the child’s relationship like with each parent?
  • What are the benefits of moving?
  • What ties does the child have to school, extended family, and the community?

Possible Outcomes of a Relocation Case

Generally, there are three main outcomes in move-away actions. First, the court may decide to allow the move. Second, if the child does not want to move and the non-custodial parent can provide a stable, loving home, a change in custody may be in order. Third, the move-away action may be approved, but the non-custodial parent decides to move as well. Sometimes, the third option is the best for everyone involved, especially when the non-custodial parent can easily find a job in the new town.

If you need a Denver family lawyer to represent you in a move-away action, we urge you to contact Jones Law Firm, PC to schedule a free consultation.