Relocation with Minor Children After Divorce

Legal Issues When Moving With Children Outside of Arizona

Moving out-of-state with minor children requires certain legal steps.

If are divorced, getting a divorce or share legal custody with another person, you need to understand that one parent cannot move the children out of Arizona or more than 100 miles away from the other legal parent without legally notifying the other parent. The parenting relocating must notify the other parent at least 45-days prior to the move in advance via certified mail.

If a parent wants to prevent the move, they must file a petition to prevent relocation with the court within 30-days of receiving the notice to relocate.

Whether you are the parent who desires to relocate with the children, or if you are the parent who wants to prevent the children from moving out-of-state, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine your obligations, rights and options.

Any parent considering relocation or who has received notice of the other parent’s intent to relocate should contact an experienced family law attorney. At Best Law Firm, we represent parents dealing with relocation matters and related family law issues. If you have questions about your rights as a parent, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

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Moving Out of Arizona with Minor Children

Relocation is when one parent wants to move out of the state of Arizona or more than one-hundred (100) miles farther away from where they are currently living in Arizona with the children. Such a move could potentially affect that parent’s ability to have reasonable parenting time with his or her children. Relocation could also affect legal decision-making and child support issues for the moving parent.

Arizona law presumes that both parents of a child should have reasonable parenting time with that child unless a parent is deemed unfit to have parenting time, e.g. drug/alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc., Arizona law states that parents are entitled to reasonable parenting time with their children, that is, parenting time that involves frequent and continuing contact with the child(ren).

A.R.S. 25-408

A. If by written agreement or court order both parents are entitled to joint legal decision-making or parenting time and both parents reside in the state, at least forty-five days’ advance written notice shall be provided to the other parent before a parent may do either of the following:

1. Relocate the child outside the state.

2. Relocate the child more than one hundred miles within the state.

The Arizona Relocation Statute only applies if a parent wishes to move either 1) outside the state of Arizona or 2) more than 100 miles within the state of Arizona. If both parents are entitled to legal decision-making and parenting time and both parents reside in Arizona, at least 45 days advance written notice must be provided to the other parent before a parent may make such a long distance relocation.

If the non-moving parent has legal decision-making and parenting time rights, you must send that parent a written notice at least 45 days prior to your moving date. The written notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. A parent who does not comply with the notification requirements is subject to court sanction.

If a notice to relocate has been received, a motion to prevent the relocation must be filed within 30 days of receiving the notification.

How the Court Decides to Allow or Deny Relocation

THE MOVING PARENT MUST DEMONSTRATE TO THE COURT THAT THE MOVE IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN. COURTS TEND TO ATTRIBUTE GREATER WEIGHT TO CERTAIN FACTORS SUCH AS:

  • The potential benefits of the move for the relocating children and parent.
  • The child’s relationship with each of the parents.
  • Which parent has historically provided primary care for the child(ren).
  • How the move will affect the child.
  • The reasons for the relocation.
  • Whether the move permits for sufficient parenting time for both parents.
Frequently Asked Questions

I’m buying a house 10 miles down the road. Does the Arizona Relocation Statute apply to my move?

If both parents are entitled to custody or parenting time and both parents reside in Arizona, at least 45 days advance written notice must be provided to the other parent before a parent may relocate the child outside Arizona, or to relocate the child more than 100 miles within Arizona.

I just received notice of the other parent’s request to relocate with my children. What can I do?

If the other party plans to relocate with the children, and you oppose the move, you can file a motion to prevent the relocation. You must do so within 30 days of receipt of the written notice. Typically, Courts are more likely to preclude a party from relocating with the children if the move has not occurred yet. Courts tend to be more hesitant to order a party who has already moved to return if the motion to prevent relocation was not filed on time.

I have a job offer in another state. I need to notify the other parent. What do I do?

The written notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. A parent who does not comply with the notification requirements is subject to court sanction.

The non-moving parent requested a hearing to prevent relocation. What can happen at the hearing?

The moving parent must demonstrate to the Court that the move is in the best interests of the children. The best interest factors are outlined in A.R.S. §25-403 and 408. Courts tend to attribute greater weight to certain factors such as the potential benefits of the move for the relocating children and parent; the reasons for the relocation; whether the move permits for sufficient parenting time for both parents; how the move will affect the child; the child’s relationship with each of the parents; which parent has historically provided primary care for the child(ren).

I sent written notice to the other parent via certified mail. What happens next?

The non-moving parent may request a hearing to prevent relocation of the child, but must do so within 30 days after notice is made. After 30 days, any petition or other application to prevent relocation of the child may be granted only on a showing of good cause.

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