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Relocation & Custody

What is Parental Relocation?

Parental relocation in Colorado refers to a situation where one parent who shares custody or visitation rights with the other parent wishes to move to a new residence with the child(ren) and the move would significantly impact the current custody arrangement or visitation schedule. This relocation could be within the state of Colorado or out of state.

In Colorado, if a parent wants to relocate with a child, they must provide notice to the other parent and seek approval from the court if the move would substantially change the geographical ties between the child and the other parent. The parent seeking to relocate must provide a written notice to the other parent, typically at least 60 days in advance of the proposed move. The notice should include specific details about the intended move, including the new address, reasons for the relocation, proposed revised parenting plan or visitation schedule, and any other relevant information.

If the non-relocating parent disagrees with the proposed relocation, they can file an objection with the court. In such cases, the court will consider various factors to determine whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child.

Common Reasons to Relocate with a Child

There are various reasons why a parent may seek to relocate. Some common reasons include:

  • Employment Opportunities: One of the most common reasons for relocation is a job offer or a better employment opportunity in another city or state. The relocating parent may need to move to pursue career advancement or to secure a job that offers better pay or benefits.
  • Educational Opportunities: Another common reason for relocation is to access better educational opportunities for the parent or the child. This could involve enrolling in a college or university program, attending a specialized school, or moving to a district with better schools for the child.
  • Family Support: Relocating to be closer to family members, such as grandparents, siblings, or other relatives, is another common reason. Family support can be crucial, especially for single parents or in cases where there is a need for additional assistance with childcare.
  • New Relationship: Sometimes, a parent may wish to relocate to be closer to a new partner or to start a new relationship. This could involve moving to the partner's city or state to live together as a family.
  • Health Reasons: Relocation may be necessary for health-related reasons, such as accessing specialized medical treatment or living in a climate that is more conducive to managing a particular health condition.
  • Quality of Life: Seeking a better quality of life, including factors such as lower cost of living, safer neighborhoods, access to outdoor activities, or a slower pace of life, may also prompt a relocation.

The Complications of Relocation

Though most people recognize that divorce is a complex process, most ex-spouses do not realize the long-term ramifications of a divorce. When a couple has children, the court’s focus shifts to prioritize the needs of the children in a divorce case. Part of what is taken into account regarding children is the geographical distance between them and parents. When parents share custody over their children, the courts will usually include a clause in the agreement stipulating “travel restrictions.”

Travel restrictions limit a parent’s ability to move with their children without notifying the noncustodial parent, which gives them the opportunity to object to the move in a formal hearing. If the parent is not moving a significant distance away (e.g. staying within 50 miles), then this is not necessary. Otherwise, a custodial parent must prove that the move is in the child’s best interests.

The court usually considers a number of factors in modifying custody for a move, including:

  • The reasons for the proposed relocation.
  • The relationship between the child and each parent.
  • The impact of the move on the child's quality of life.
  • The feasibility of maintaining the current parenting plan or visitation schedule with the proposed relocation.
  • The wishes of the child, if they are old enough and mature enough to express a preference.
  • The reasons for the move
  • The reasons for objection
  • The quality of the parental relationship at risk
  • Educational opportunities in the new area
  • If extended family are available in the new area

Why You Need an Attorney for Relocation Hearings

The Harris Law Firm is made of experienced lawyers, skilled in legal investigation and familiar with Colorado family law. Each of our skills are perfectly suited for advocating for the best interests of your child.

Here are some benefits of hiring our firm for your relocation case:

  • Legal Expertise: Our attorneys specialize in family law, including parental relocation cases. We have in-depth knowledge of Colorado's laws and court procedures related to relocation, allowing us to navigate the legal process efficiently and effectively on your behalf.
  • Strategic Guidance: We provide strategic guidance tailored to your specific situation. We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, develop a personalized legal strategy, and advise you on the best course of action to achieve your goals while prioritizing the best interests of your child.
  • Negotiation Skills: Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who can engage with the other party or their legal representative to seek a favorable outcome through negotiation or mediation. We will strive to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that meets your needs and protects your parental rights.
  • Courtroom Advocacy: If negotiation or mediation fails to resolve the dispute, we are prepared to advocate for you in court. Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating family law cases and will zealously represent your interests before the judge, presenting compelling arguments and evidence to support your position.
  • Protecting Your Rights: We are committed to protecting your parental rights throughout the relocation process. Whether you are seeking to relocate with your child or opposing the other parent's proposed relocation, we will work tirelessly to safeguard your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for you and your child.
  • Emotional Support: Going through a parental relocation case can be emotionally challenging. Our compassionate attorneys will provide you with the support and guidance you need during this difficult time, offering reassurance, empathy, and practical advice every step of the way.
  • Peace of Mind: By hiring us to handle your parental relocation case, you can have peace of mind knowing that your legal matter is in capable hands. We will handle all aspects of your case with professionalism, integrity, and dedication, allowing you to focus on your family and moving forward with confidence.

Whether you need to move with your child or you believe your child ought to stay in the area, our family law attorneys will determine the most effective way to do what’s best for your child, and by extension, your family. We develop creative, mutually-beneficial solutions. If you need an attorney, contact The Harris Law Firm.

If your relationship with your child is on the line, you need representation—reach us at (303) 622-5502.

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