Relocation with a Child

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Relocation with a Child

 

Can I move out of state with my child?

This question comes up quite often. There are many reasons a parent may want to move. For example, a parent is offered a job opportunity, desires to move closer to family out of state for support, or remarries and their new spouse needs to move for work or school. These are all legitimate reasons and the move may have significant benefits for the child. HOWEVER, the answer is a BIG MAYBE. This decision profoundly affects the parent-child relationship for the parent remaining in Arizona without the child, so the court takes this very seriously. You will need to closely follow the legal procedures AND carefully prepare your case.

This statute is being revised and the new statute takes effect January 1, 2013. This law is also being reconsidered in the current 2013 legislative session.

The following are some basic,  general provisions that aren’t changing: Relocation is governed by A.R.S. §25-408

The Basics of Relocation

  • The moving parent must give 60 days notice to the other parent.
  • A relocation means moving out of state AND moving more than 100 miles within Arizona.
  • The non-moving parent has 30 day to Petition the Court to stop the move.
  • A parent with sole custody or who is the primary residence of the child may temporarily relocate if it is related to employment, health or safety.
  • Relocation must be in the child’s best interest.
  • A parent who moves without notifying the other parent may be subject to sanctions by the court.

How does the Court decide?

First, the Court will consider the custody factors in A.R.S.§25-403 and, then the court must consider the following additional factors:

  • If the request is made in good faith
  • If the move improves the general quality of life for the custodial parent or child
  • If the moving parent will comply with parenting time orders
  • If the relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for time with each parent
  • If the relocation will affect and to what extent the child’s emotional, physical or development needs of the child
  • If the motives of either parent are to gain financial advantage regarding child support
  • If the relocation will affect the child’s stability

 

As you can see there is a lot the court is required to consider. The legal hurdles of moving away from one of the child’s parents are significant; therefore, if you can work out a solution with the other parent that meets everyone’s needs you may be more likely to reach your goal. A lawyer, counselor or other professional can help you develop a plan to approach the other parent so you can try to reach an agreement before approaching the court. On the other hand, if the move is related to safety consult a professional about ways to protect you and the child.

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