Danielsen Westhoff, PC

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Out-of-state custodial parent relocations

Divorced parents in Colorado are often able to make things easier for their children by remaining within fairly close proximity to one another. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. Whether it's because of a job change or other life circumstances, a relocation can present some challenges for parents after a marriage comes to an end. This situation can become even more complicated if the custodial parent wishes to relocate out of state with a child.

Before relocating, a parent should read their custody agreement documents, divorce decree and/or parenting plan first. If any of these documents have stipulations about out-of-state relocation, the custodial parent is encouraged to comply to avoid legal challenges. It's advised that a relocating parent also keep state laws regarding out-of-state moves in mind.

Should an ex-spouse who doesn't have custody opt to challenge a relocation request, the custodial parent may end up having a full custody evaluation. If this is the case, a relocating spouse would need to show what impact the move would have on the child's quality of life, how much time an ex currently spends with the child, a willingness to allow for longer visits because of logistics, a willingness to support reasonable changes to the visitation schedule and preparation to handle additional costs of transportation. Lastly, the relocating parent must show that the move is not an attempt to restrict the other parent's access to the child.

Before going to a lawyer for help submitting the request to relocate out of state, a custodial parent is encouraged to consider the impact on their child. If it's decided to move forward with such plans, an legal counsel could give the parent a general overview of what to expect and explain what requirements are specific to their existing divorce and custody documents. Additional legal assistance might be necessary if there is a custody dispute before or after the relocation.

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