If you are currently divorced and share a minor child with your ex-spouse, you likely have a parenting plan in place that allocates parental responsibilities, including important decision-making responsibilities for the child as well as parenting time, or when each parent physically cares for and spends time with the child. But what happens if you apply for and are offered a new job that requires you to move out of Denver? And does the answer to that question change if you are simply moving elsewhere in the state of Colorado as opposed to another state?
The matter of relocation can be complicated for parents in Denver, especially when the parents do not agree that a relocation is in the best interests of the child. We will discuss the process of relocation and how a parent can seek to modify parenting time.
Distance of the Move and How It Affects a Relocation
If you are simply moving to another house in the Denver city limits, or if you are moving to a nearby suburb like Holly Hills or Highlands Ranch, you likely will not need to seek permission for your relocation. However, according to Colorado law (C.R.S. § 14-10-129), when one of the parents intends to relocate with the child to a home that significantly changes the geographical ties between the child and the other parent, then the parent seeking to move must inform the other parent and begin taking steps toward a lawful relocation.
To be clear, if you want to move to a new home in the general Denver area, it is unlikely that the move would substantially change the geographical ties between your child and the other parent. However, moving farther away—whether it is to another city in Colorado that is some distance away or to another state—then you will need to do the following:
- Provide the other parent with written notice, as soon as it is practicable, of your intent to relocate;
- Provide the other parent with the location of where you intend to reside and your reason for the relocation;
- Provide a proposed revised parenting time plan; and
- Schedule a court hearing for a modification of parenting time.
Motion for a Relocation
If the other parent agrees to the modification, the process is much easier. However, if the other parent does not agree, you will need to seek permission from the court. When you seek to modify a parenting time plan in Denver with the permission of the court, you will need to file a motion for relocation. In determining whether to grant your motion, the court will decide whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child. In order to make that determination, the court will look at a number of different factors, including but not limited to:
- Reasons you want to relocate with your child;
- Reasons the other parent objects to the relocation;
- History and quality of your relationship with the child since the parenting time order took effect;
- History and quality of the other parent’s relationship with the child since the parenting time order took effect;
- Educational opportunities for your child at your current location and at the new location;
- Advantages for the child to remain with the primary caregiver;
- Anticipated impact of the move on your child;
- Whether court will be able to revise the parenting time schedule in a reasonable manner if it permits the relocation; and
- Other factors involved in determining the best interests of the child.
While moving can be difficult on children, as an article in Psychology Today suggests, this fact alone does not mean that a relocation is not in the child’s best interests.
Contact a Denver Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions about relocation or other aspects of your parenting time plan, an experienced child custody lawyer in Denver can assist you. Contact Divorce Matters today.