Moving Out of State While Under a Child Custody Order

People may choose to relocate for any number of reasons after a divorce— such as to get a better job, to further their education or to be close to loved ones. However, a divorced parent with custody of minor children cannot make a long-distance move without satisfying certain legal requirements.

Arizona requirements for custodial parent to move out of state

In Arizona, court permission is necessary if a parent seeks to move with their custodial children out of state or a distance of 100 miles or more from their current residence. The parent who wishes to relocate must follow the procedures specified in the Arizona child relocation statute. That includes giving the other parent 45 days prior written notice of their intent to relocate with the children. Within 30 days of the notice, the other parent may object to the relocation and may petition the court for a hearing, at which both sides may present evidence.

A judge may consider a variety of factors in reaching a decision on relocation, including:

  • Whether the parent seeking relocation is doing so for a proper reason, such as employment or education, or an improper reason, such as to deprive the other parent of parenting time
  • The distance involved in the intended relocation
  • Each parent’s past and current relationship with the child
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment for the child
  • The child’s relationship with any siblings or extended family members
  • The child’s perceived ability to adapt to a new living situation
  • The child’s preferences (if the child is of a sufficient age or maturity level)

A judge will usually allow relocation if it is in the best interests of the minor children, which means that the move will likely benefit the children and not adversely affect their mental or physical well-being. The judge’s decision results in a modified child custody order that includes measures to protect each parent’s right to parenting time.

Child relocation cases can become contentious and emotionally charged, especially if the intended move is so far away that plane travel is necessary for parental visitation. Further, any decision of the court can have significant long-term effects on the parent and the children. In order to secure the best possible outcome, a parent planning for or opposing a relocation should seek legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale offers effective representation of clients in relocation cases and other family law matters throughout Arizona. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys about your case, please call 602-789-3497 or contact us online.