Can your ex move far away with your kids after your divorce?

Embittered former spouses can often take extreme steps in an attempt to penalize their ex, including intentionally violating parenting arrangements or even more drastic measures aimed at alienating the children from the other parent.

Choosing to move so far away that you can no longer reasonably share custody or have frequent visitation is one way that your ex could attempt to alienate you from the kids. Thankfully, if you have shared parental rights or visitation, your ex can’t just pack up and leave with your kids.

A parent must advise their ex and the courts before attempting to relocate

Parenting plans in Colorado typically restrict relocation to a specific geographic area. Regardless of whether the courts define that geographic area through the use of distances, specific counties or school districts, both parents have an obligation to comply with the restrictions set in place by the courts.

If one parent wants to change those rules, they will need to request a formal modification. Part of that modification process will involve notifying the courts of the intention to move and providing similar notice to the other parent. That means that the courts will have a chance to review the situation and you will have an opportunity to contest the suggested move.

The courts will only approve relocations in the best interests of the children

As with all other major decisions related to parental rights and responsibilities in Colorado, the family courts must always focus on the best interests of the children when reviewing modification requests, including relocations. Although your ex may attempt to spin the relocation as an opportunity to be closer to social supports or for career advancement, the real intent might be to alienate the children from you.

Any documented or witnessed statements indicating an intent to alienate you from the children could help you fight a relocation request. If your ex has ever claimed they would cut you off from the children or turn them against you, that could be enough to ask the courts to re-evaluate the parenting plan. They might give you more parenting time or permit your ex to move, provided that the children remain with you.

Instead of just accepting that your ex intends to move and take your children away, you should explore whether you have options for fighting to protect your important parent-child relationship.