Relocating With A Child After Divorce in Arizona

relocating with a child after divorceWe know that going through a divorce or separation was not easy. Even in the most amicable divorce cases, the stress of reallocating assets, finding a new place to live, and moving on is extremely tough. Nothing, though, is harder than going through a separation when there are minor children involved. Arranging child custody, child support, and visitation can seem impossible.

But what happens if a parent with custody decides they want to relocate with the child down the line? Can they just move?

The answer is no, they cannot just move. Relocation is a tough subject to deal with which is why we want to talk about it a bit today. An Arizona family law attorney will be able to advise you through this process.

Life Changes After A Divorce

For most people, life does get back on track after a divorce. It may not be immediately and life may not look the same, but it does even out. There may come a time when moving away becomes a real possibility. This could be because of any number of reasons. Maybe you:

  • Meet and fall in love with someone new and want to move in with them.
  • Lose your job or get a new job that requires
  • Are not happy in your current location and want to start fresh somewhere else.

Whether your move is somewhere else in Arizona or out of state, there are some things you need to be aware of. We can turn to ARS 25-408, which governs the rights of each parent, parenting time, and relocation.

  • A parent seeking to move more than 100 miles within or outside of the state must provide a 45-day written notice to the non-moving parent.
  • The non-moving parent can petition the court to prevent the relocation.
  • If the non-moving parent does not petition the court, the other parent may move with the child.

Let’s answer some of the common questions that usually come up at this point:

Can you move before the 45-day period it up?

  • Yes, but only if you have sole legal custody or joint legal custody and need to move due to health, safety, employment/eviction reasons.
  • If you have joint legal custody and share equal parenting time then you can move before the 45-day period if both parents agree in writing.

Please know that the courts want you to have a good reason for moving.

In the above scenarios, moving simply for a fresh start is not likely to be a good enough reason for a judge. The parent who is relocating with the child must prove that the benefits outweigh the costs for the child’s stability and well-being. From the beginning of a divorce or separation, the courts make it clear that they want what is in the best interest of the child or children. That does not change after separation is complete.

Remember, relocation is likely going to disrupt any other agreements made, such as shared custody time or visitation rights. These will either have to be upheld over the distance or altered within the court.

How A Family Law Attorney Can Help

Please seek out help from an Arizona family law attorney if you are planning to relocate with a child after a divorce is complete. The snapshot we gave you above is only the beginning of the difficulties. While we hope that everything can be worked out in an amicable way, that is not always the case. When minor children are involved, emotions can run high. Having an attorney by your side can reduce the stress for you and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the process.

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