As an adult, you enjoy many freedoms, among them the freedom to pick up and move to somewhere else in pursuit of employment, to be closer to family, or simply because you want a change of scenery.  This can become more difficult when you’re in a divorce situation that involves children.

Historically, the state of Colorado has placed limitations on divorced parents wishing to relocate out of state. While a parent has the right to move wherever he or she wants, Colorado retains jurisdiction over the children and requires that any relocation of a child that will substantially change the parenting time of the other parent must first be approved by the other parent or the Court.

Currently, divorcing or divorced parents may face legal hurdles if they plan to relocate with children, especially if this interrupts already agreed-upon custody arrangements and parenting time.  Whether you’re looking to relocate or you want to stop a custodial parent from doing so, you’ll need the help of a qualified attorney like the experts at Curtis Law Firm to guide you through the process and help you understand your options.

Relocation Injunction

When parents file for divorce or legal separation in Colorado, they are subject to an immediate injunction that stops either parent from removing children from the state, even temporarily, without the express permission of the other parent, or alternately, the court.  The court may grant permission to visit other states with little fuss, especially for the purposes of vacation or visiting extended family, for example, but it is extremely difficult to convince the court to allow for relocation while a divorce is underway.

Relocation during Custody Determination

While the courts recognize that one or both parents may wish to relocate following divorce in order to seek employment, live near a family support system, or simply start over in a new place, the court must find that such a relocation is in the best interests of children. If a parent expresses a desire to relocate, it can have an impact on the outcome of a custody battle.

Courts will not deny a parent the right to relocate if he/she makes intentions known during the custody hearing.  However, the court can decide whether children will be allowed to relocate with the parent that moves, or if permission to move the children will be denied, essentially placing them in the custody of the parent that stays.  A parenting schedule will be based upon this decision.

Relocation Following Divorce

It’s not unusual for one parent to consider relocation at some point after the divorce and custody agreement have been finalized, perhaps months or years later.  If the parent wants to relocate with children and the other parent objects, the relocating parent must file a motion, a hearing will be set, and the court will decide which parent the children will remain with.

The court will take several factors into consideration, including reasons for relocation, the objections of the other parent, the quality of each parent’s relationship with children, the presence of extended family at either location, the impact of the move on kids, educational opportunities at each location, and so on.  In such cases, the best interests of the kids are at the heart of the court’s decision.

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