Arizona Rules for a Custodial Parent Relocating With a Child

These days, it is not uncommon for people to relocate over long distances to pursue new job opportunities or to be closer to friends and family. For parents who were awarded child custody in a divorce, relocating may be subject to legal restrictions. Parents seeking to move must abide by Arizona law if they want to avoid jeopardizing their custody rights.

Arizona law requires that a custodial parent notify the other parent at least 45 days before making a move out of state or more than 100 miles away within the state. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, they can petition the court to intervene. A court order denying relocation does not mean that the parent can’t move, but it does mean that the parent cannot take the child with them and maintain the same custody arrangement.

In a contested relocation case, Arizona courts will decide whether the move is in the child’s best interest. Typically, the court will hold a hearing and the relocating parent will have the opportunity to present evidence as to why the move would be beneficial to the child. For example, the child might be moving to a great school district or the child might enjoy a better standard of living thanks to a parent’s new job. At the same time, the objecting parent will have the opportunity to present evidence on why the move might negatively impact the child. Most often, that parent will argue that the relocation will make it more difficult to spend time with the child.

The court will consider a wide range of factors that might affect a child’s well-being after a relocation, including:

  • Impact on the child’s relationship with both parents
  • Impact on the child’s relationship with siblings
  • Impact on the child’s overall quality of life
  • Whether the adjustment required will be significant
  • Resources available to support the child in the move

If you are a custodial parent considering relocation, you should speak with a knowledgeable Arizona child custody attorney well in advance, particularly if you anticipate that your co-parent might object to such a move. An experienced attorney can assist you in developing a relocation plan that could alleviate any concerns a court may have about the possible negative effects of the relocation.

At Clark and Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, Arizona, we understand that relocations sometimes happen and can work with you to pursue a plan that best protects your child’s interests. If you have questions or need representation, please call our office at 602-789-3497 or contact us online anytime.