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Understanding child relocation laws in Colorado

The relationship a parent has with their child is precious. Although time spent texting or on FaceTime ensures communication, there is no substitute for the close contact parents have when sharing a living space or living near a child. One of the most contentious issues in a divorce is where one parent requests to "relocate" the child.

Many parents involved in a custody battle struggle with the question of whether they should relocate out of the state of Colorado. If you are a single parent and are thinking about relocating with your child, it is important to know about Colorado’s relocation laws. Depending upon the current custody arrangement and the distance you plan to relocate, there could be some complications to be able to legally and lawfully move with the child.

Determining factors

While a Colorado divorce or legal separation is pending, the law prevents one parent from removing the child from the state, even temporarily, without either permission from the other parent or a court order. Once the divorce is final, parents can take the children out-of-state for visits, unless the decree says otherwise. A permanent relocation still requires permission and that permission is increasingly hard to get.

In situations where the custody agreement does not allow for a child to move far away, in or out-of-state, the parent seeking relocation must obtain a court review and approval to move such a distance that would significantly change the geographical ties between the child and their other parent.

Colorado statute says that if you are seeking relocation, you must first notify the other parent in writing. The notice should provide detailed information of where you are planning to move, why you are moving, and any proposed changes to your parenting plan. You must then file a motion with the court, which will lead to a hearing to determine if the move is in the best interest of the child while also protecting the rights of both parents. If the court finds that the factors weigh in favor of the relocation, it will grant it unless it would impair the health and emotional development of the child.

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