Being able to freely move around is a fundamental right in the U.S. Constitution. When it comes to family law, the court does not have the authority to require a parent to live in a particular place. However, Colorado family courts take seriously child relocations. If you are considering moving out of state with your child, you should consider talking to a child relocations attorney.
Contact Our Attorneys for Child Relocations
Child relocations tend to be very contentious and complicated matters. We strongly recommend you consider talking to a family law attorney about your particular circumstances. We always provide a free initial assessment. You can schedule that here or when you call 303-688-0944.
In the video below, Robinson & Henry Family Law Attorney discusses the child relocation process, including what steps parents must take before they file a motion and what considerations the courts make when deciding these types of cases.
The First Step in a Colorado Child Relocation Case
When a parent considers moving away with their child, the first step they have to take is to communicate with the other parent.
Colorado law requires that the party wishing to move must give the other parent written notice as soon as practicable. The notice must include:
- his or her intent to relocate
- where he or she plans to move
- why the parent wants to relocate
- a proposed revised parenting time plan
One parent’s objection to the child moving outside the local geographical area does not necessarily mean that the parent wishing to relocate is absolutely barred from doing so. From our experience, it is usually easier to acquire the court’s permission to relocate if the child is very young or if relocation is requested at the beginning of a divorce or custody proceeding.
How to Avoid Costly Child Relocations Litigation
Relocation cases are some of the most contentious matters in family law, and many times they end up in a costly court battle.
To reduce the likelihood of expensive litigation, parents can enlist the help of an attorney to mediate the issue, draft a new parenting plan, and file the appropriate modification paperwork with the court.
What to Expect If Your Child Relocation Case Goes to Court
If you and your ex are unable to reach an agreement, whoever is seeking to move must file a motion with the court to request relocation with the child. That parent will also have to draft a suggested new parenting plan and attach a proposed order.
In requesting relocation, the moving party must also address the issue of child support. If relocation warrants a modification of child support, both issues may be raised and resolved in one proceeding.
What the Court Considers in a Child Relocation Request
According to state law in allocating parenting time, the court must consider the physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time. However, the statute does not mandate where a parent can live.
The Best Interest of the Child
In deciding whether a child should be permitted to relocate with a parent, Colorado courts must determine whether the relocation is in the best interest of the child.
To determine the best interest of the child, the court considers a number of factors, including:
- the reasons why the parent wants to relocate
- the availability of daycare in the new location
- the quality of schools in the new location
The court will also consider familial connections. For instance, what kind of family support network will the child be taken away from if they are allowed to move away, and will the child have family in the new location?
How to Make Up Lost Parenting Time
Child relocation cases are incredibly difficult matters for all parties involved, including the children. Why? It is inevitable that one parent will likely lose a significant amount of parenting time with their child due to the distance.
One way this precious time with your child can be made up is to incorporate additional days into the revised parenting plan. So you may be able to take more time with your child during the summer or the longer Christmas break. Other school breaks, such as fall break, Thanksgiving, and spring break could also be considered for additional time.
FAQs About Child Relocations
What is exclusive continuing jurisdiction?
Once a state enters an initial child custody determination that state has exclusive jurisdiction to modify the custody determination.
Exclusive jurisdiction continues until the court determines that the child and the parents no longer have a significant connection with the issuing state, or until the court determines that neither the child nor the parents presently reside in the issuing state.
My ex wants to relocate with our child. What can I do to keep my child in Colorado?
In Colorado, before a parent can relocate with a child, both parents must convince the court that their proposed parenting schedule is in the best interest of the child.
Therefore, you, as the party seeking to keep the child in Colorado, must convince the court that keeping the child in Colorado is in the child’s best interest.
If my ex is allowed to relocate, will I still be able to see my child?
Yes. In child relocations proceedings, absent an agreement between the parents, the court will set a new parenting schedule that will specify the parenting time of each parent.
In doing so, the court will take into consideration the distance between the parents and the frequency and the cost of travel.
Some parenting time may take place in Colorado, and other parenting time may take place in the state where the child relocates.
Does it matter to the court whether it is mom or dad relocating?
No. Both mom and dad must convince the court that their respective position on child relocation is in the child’s best interest. The court does not presume that any person is better able to serve the best interest of the child based solely on his or her gender.
What is the cost of a relocation case?
Child relocations tend to be expensive matters because they are highly contentious. In addition to attorney fees, the parties may face the expenses associated with the hiring of a CFI or a PRE.
Our family law attorneys have a strong focus on mediation and reaching an agreement that will be acceptable to both parties.
What is a CFI?
CFI stands for Child and Family Investigator. A CFI is a neutral third-party appointed by the court to investigate, report, and make recommendations as to what is in the best interest of the child.
What is a PRE?
PRE stands for Parental Responsibilities Evaluator. A PRE is a county or district social services department worker or a licensed mental health professional. The PRE is qualified to perform an evaluation and file a written report concerning the disputed issues relating to the allocation of parental responsibilities for the child.
I Have Questions About Child Relocation
If you or your ex-spouse or ex-partner is considering a move with your minor child, the experienced family law attorneys at Robinson & Henry can answer your questions about the process.
Our family law attorneys have years of experience helping clients with a variety of family law matters including, post-decree modifications, family court order enforcement, divorce, and child relocations.
Call 303-688-0944 to set up your free initial case assessment, or click here and schedule your appointment online.