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Relocation Cases in Colorado

Co-parenting can have its difficulties. This is especially so when relocation is involved. If one parent wishes to relocate and the other doesn’t agree, a dispute can arise. Often, this will lead to a court case and trial. If you are faced with this situation, let our attorneys help you. Our team at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton has helped thousands of clients resolve parental custody conflicts. Here are some things to know about relocation cases as it applies to child custody.

Handling Child Custody Relocation When a Parent Wants to Move

Divorced and separated parents in Colorado may have a lot to consider when an opportunity arises for relocation. With moves for jobs, family, education and more, a child custody relocation is not uncommon, but there are concerns to keep in mind when considering it. In the first place, relocation can make joint or shared custody very difficult. Children cannot spend one week on, one week off when their parents live states, or even cities, apart. In general, relocation will rely on one parent having primary custody, which is something that could change during the relocation process.

A parent may have relatively poor employment and housing opportunities in his or her local area. By relocating, he or she may be able to provide a much better standard of living for his or her child. In addition, a parent may relocate to be closer to family, which can provide a stronger support network for a child. Ex-spouses should consider how they can ensure the other parent remains present and involved in their child’s life. Relocation may be an emotionally difficult and challenging issue, but it can be an important decision for many single parents to make. A family law attorney in Denver may help parents navigate issues concerning child custody changes and relocation to reach a fair agreement. To schedule a consultation with Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., call 303-951-4506 today.

Moving to another state after a divorce might be just the thing someone needs to get their life back on track. However, committing to a big move has the potential to to complicate things in terms of child custody. Federal and state laws both dictate what parents can and cannot do with their children after a divorce. Each state has its own laws about moving with children after a divorce, but generally, parents cannot leave the state with a child unless the other parent agrees with written consent. 

In some cases, a court order explaining why the move is good for the child will also suffice. Some parents face restrictions on exactly how far they can move from the other parent. In Colorado, if a legal separation or divorce is still pending, one parent cannot legally remove the child from the state without permission from the other parent or a court order. After the separation or divorce is final, the child may leave the state for visitation, unless otherwise stated in the agreement. If one parent already knows about their own intention to relocate, courts take this into consideration while organizing the parenting plan. The court decides which parent’s location is best for the child. If a parent intends to relocate after the divorce is final, they must obtain review and approval from the court and the other parent to relocate.

To get permission to move out of state with your joint-custody child, you must ask a judge for permission. Failure to do this could result in serious consequences.

The first way to go about getting permission to relocate is to notify the other parent. The best way to do this is to provide a written notice. In this notice, include your intent and reason for moving and where you plan on moving to. You should also propose a fair plan for visitations as well as a time schedule.

If the other parent does not agree to this request, they can file an objection. A trial in court will result from this objection. Each parent must make a case for their child and why he or she thinks their best interest is with them. Under Colorado law, a court is expected to schedule a hearing within 35 days following the filing of the objection for relocation. 

When the case reaches court, the judge will observe several factors to determine whether relocation is granted.

You need only file a notice or request for relocation if you plan on moving further than 20 miles from your child’s current home. While there is no limit to how far you’re able to move, it is harder to get a judge to grant the relocation if it’s a significant distance away from the other parent. This is especially true if you have joint custody over the child as opposed to sole custody. 

It essentially comes down to what you and your lawyer are able to prove to the court. If you can prove that the move is in your child’s best interest, you have a case for relocation.

Even for non-custodial parents, relocation presents unique challenges. Sometimes, moving is a necessity for either economic or personal reasons. Ultimately, it affects custody agreements and visitation schedules. Courts do not allow parents to pack up and leave with their children without first examining the move and determining the best course of action for the children. Non-custodial parents, after moving, might have to alter the parenting plan with permission from the court. This could involve less regular time with the children, but more holiday and vacation time. 

Usually, having no child custody agreement means one of two things: that you are still married, or that you had a child without marrying the other parent. In either case, it is usually not a good idea to attempt moving out of state without court approval. Regardless of your reasoning for the move, we recommend obtaining official court approval for the relocation before proceeding. Speak with your Denver family law attorney before making a move, as they will help you avoid jeopardizing your own custody rights.

Yes. This permission must come from both the non-custodial parent and the court in charge of the case. The non-custodial parent and the custodial parent must work together to appropriately alter the parenting plan and visitation schedule. The court determines what is best for the child, and oversees negotiations between the parents. Ultimately, the court decides the best interests of the child, and officially updates the custody agreements.

In Colorado, parents seeking to relocate with their children must follow the official procedure. Below, we list the order of actions you must take in order to relocate with your children. Work with your Denver family law attorney to ensure that you follow these steps correctly.

  • Provide the other parent and the court with a written notice of your intent to relocate.
  • State where you intend to reside.
  • Provide the reasons for your relocation.
  • Propose a revised parenting plan, and work with the court to ensure it is good for the children.

If you intend to start this process in Colorado, we saved you the time of searching for the appropriate documentation needed for your move. Review the instructions, work with your attorney, and keep the court up to date on your intentions.

We understand that dealing with child custody and relocation makes for a stressful time. However, our family law attorneys at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton P.C. provide some helpful tips to make your case a little easier. Below, we discuss ways to make your relocation case easier in terms of obtaining a favorable outcome.

  • Provide adequate reasoning for your move. Judges will ask why you want to move, so make sure you provide a good reason. Examples of favorable reasons include moving closer to family members or moving for a higher-paying job.
  • Understand the factors your state’s courts consider. Prepare for the questions a judge will ask by knowing the distance of the move, your communication skills with the other parent, the reasons for your move, and more. Every detail counts in a child relocation case, so work with your attorney to be as prepared as possible.
  • Understand your court’s child relocation process. Each state has its own procedural steps you must follow in a certain time frame, so stick with those as best you can. Sometimes, it takes anywhere from a few months to over a year to complete the process.
  • Work with an experienced family law attorney. An experienced lawyer in your state will know the laws and procedures surrounding child relocation cases. Follow their advice, and learn as much about the process as you can.

Child Relocation Factors in Colorado

For a parent to relocate with their child, a judge must consider several factors before they allow it. Most of this comes down to what the parent wishing to relocate is able to prove. They must prove that:

  1. They have a legitimate reason for moving, and
  2. The move is in the child’s best interest.

Other factors that are taken into consideration by the court include the following:

  • Quality and history of the child-parent relationship on both sides
  • Educational opportunities in both the current community of the child and the proposed community in which they may relocate
  • How the move may impact the child
  • Will this limit the other parent’s visitation 
  • The presence of other family members (nuclear or extended) in the current community or in the newly proposed community
  • The opinion and wishes of the child 

In addition to these factors, the court will compare the reasons why the custodial parent wishes to move to the objections by the other parent. If one appears to favor the child’s best interests more than the other, the court will choose that route. 

Experienced Denver Child Relocation Attorneys

As Colorado’s largest family law firm, we help countless clients each year reach peaceful resolutions for their cases. Parental responsibility and custody disputes make an already difficult situation even more stressful. Having a Denver family law attorney on your side can help. If you need a Denver child custody attorney, call Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton P.C. today at 303-951-4506.