One of the most contentious issues in a divorce, post-dissolution or with unmarried parents is a situation where one parent requests a “relocation” or a “removal” with the children. Whether you are wishing to relocate with your child or need assistance in preventing the removal of your child, it is important to have an experienced Denver child relocation lawyer for your interests.
At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., our lawyers have extensive family law experience and have been handpicked by Cynthia L. Ciancio, one of Colorado’s most prominent family law attorneys. We are fully equipped to handle this complex area of family law in a way that protects the rights of children and parents.
After a divorce or the finalization of a visitation schedule, parents with primary residential custody are not permitted to move out of Colorado with their children unless they have permission from the other parent or a court order.
Any approved move will have to be demonstrably in the best interest of the child. When a child’s parents are both actively involved in his or her life, it is less likely the court will approve a move that will affect one of the parent’s visitation rights. While the court cannot prevent a parent from moving, he or she has the authority to prevent a parent from removing his or her child from the state.
Our Denver family law attorneys can answer your questions and work to protect your rights in these difficult cases. Contact our firm to schedule a case evaluation with our Denver child relocation attorneys.
Child custody laws for relocation depend on when the parent makes the request. If a parent informs the court that they wish to move out of state or a significant distance away (beyond 50 miles) within the state while the custody case is still pending, the court will necessarily make the custody determination as though the move has already taken place since it cannot keep a parent from moving.
It’s important for parents to understand that while the court doesn’t prevent a parent from moving, it can keep children from moving with them. The court may either grant permission for the child/ren to move with the relocating parent or award primary custody to the other parent. In some cases the court may offer two schedules for the parent to review, one based on the parent’s relocation where they become the vacation-visit parent and one that shows the shared-parenting custody schedule should the parent choose not to move. In many cases, a parent will decide against a move based on the difference in the amount of active parenting time this tactic highlights.
In post-decree requests, or a request to relocate after a finalized divorce with a custody agreement already in place, Colorado law requires the custodial parent wishing to relocate to notify the other parent who may then legally object to the move which would naturally limit their access.
In the hearing which follows, the relocating parent must prove to the court that the move is in the best interest of the child and the other parent must show why remaining in the area in their custody instead is in the child’s best interest. The court decides based strictly on what it considers to be in the child’s best interest. An experienced Denver child custody lawyer from our law firm can prepare your case to help achieve the most favorable outcome for a child custody agreement.
Colorado courts place a high priority on child relocation hearings. After filing a motion, the courts should schedule the hearing within 35 days if the other parent files an objection to the move. Family courts will expedite this legal process with an emergency hearing if a parent moves out of state with the child without the other’s permission, in which case it becomes an illegal parental kidnapping.
Colorado courts carefully consider a custodial parent’s reasons for wishing to relocate before determining whether to allow the children to relocate with the parent or to grant custodial custody to the remaining parent. Some common reasons courts may consider as in the best interests of the child include the following:
On the other hand, the court isn’t likely to be favorable toward a parent who wishes to relocate for reasons such as:
Relocating is disruptive to children’s lives. The court would only look favorably on a move away from a non-custodial parent and a location familiar to the children if the moving spouse can prove that the move is in the children’s best interest.
In general, if a parent’s motives for moving are to distance themselves from an ex-spouse it isn’t considered a child-centered reason for moving and Colorado courts expect parents to remain child-centered throughout the divorce and custody modification proceedings. A Denver child relocation attorney can help ensure everything is done in the children’s best interest.
When a custodial parent wishes to relocate with the children and the non-custodial parent objects to the move, a child relocation hearing takes place to resolve the issue. The Colorado courts don’t give an automatic advantage to either parent in these cases. While one parent must prove how the move would benefit the children, the objecting parent must prove why it’s in the best interests of the children to remain with them in the current location.
The relocating parent must present the court with a written notice of their intent to relocate stating the new location, the reason for making the move, the names and ages of any individuals living in the same household in the new location, and a proposed parenting plan for custody and visitation.
During the hearing, the court considers the following factors:
The further apart parents live the more difficult it becomes to work out child custody and visitation schedules. Courts also consider the impacts of excessive travel on young children as well as the effects of instability on older children who wish to develop and maintain close relationships with friends in their communities.
In the heated weeks immediately following a divorce, an ex-spouse may wish to move as far away from the other as possible but it’s important to consider how this affects the children. Not only does a move add further stress to a difficult time, but it also makes co-parenting much more difficult. While parents don’t necessarily have to live in the same communities, remaining within a reasonable distance offers the following benefits:
While it may be difficult to imagine a time when you and an ex are able to communicate civilly and without rancor, by remaining polite or even friendly, co-parents can create the best possible post-divorce scenario for the children.
When emotions are high after a divorce, a custodial parent may wish to relocate in order to not have to see the other parent. However, it’s essential to consider the effects a move would have on the children during this already sensitive time. The breakup of a family and new arrangements for custody and visitation is difficult for a child who may go through a grieving period for the loss of the life they knew before the divorce. Adding a relocation on top of that complicates the adjustment. It not only lessens the amount of time a child can spend with the non-custodial parent, but it also disrupts the parts of their lives that remained stable throughout the divorce process, such as their school, community ties, friends, and familiar activities.
Children who experience relocation after a divorce may show signs of depression or anxiety. They may even experience behavioral issues, sleeping problems, or regressions such as bed-wetting and feeding difficulties in young children.
Nevertheless, in cases where the benefits of a move far outway the negative impacts on children, a court may consider allowing the relocation of children with a parent who wishes to move. It may also consider the benefits of relocation in cases of abusive or dangerous behavior on the part of the non-custodial parent.
The relationship a parent has with his or her child is precious. Time spent on the phone, text messages, and webcams can ensure communication, but nothing is a substitute for the close contact that parents have with their children while sharing the same home or living in close geographic proximity. It is important to have a team of experienced Denver child relocation lawyers if you are wishing to relocate with your child or need assistance in preventing the removal of your child.
Contact our family law firm today to schedule a free evaluation of your individual case. We can help secure a favorable outcome in family law court