Relocating After Divorce: How to Prepare

Christopher Sutton
By: Christopher Sutton
PublishedDec 1, 2020
3 minute read

Relocating after divorce with your children can be difficult. Colorado courts only allow relocation if the move will be in your child’s best interest. In this article, I’ll explain how to build a strong case to relocate with your child after a divorce.

How to Relocate with Your Child After Divorce

It’s much easier to relocate with your child while your divorce is pending than to go back to court after the decree has been finalized. Nothing happens quickly with the court. So if you think relocating after divorce is possible – even if you don’t plan to relocate for some time – let your attorney know as soon as possible.

Moving away on a whim when you’re divorced with kids is extremely difficult to do. For instance, if you’re considering relocating next month, you likely won’t be successful. It is certainly not impossible, but it will be difficult to achieve.

How Does the Court Decide if I Can Relocate After Divorce?

There are three factors the court will consider when deciding if relocating after divorce is right for your family:

  • the current parenting plan
  • finances
  • best interests of the child
Will the Move Have a Substantial Impact on Your Parenting Plan? 

First, the family law judge wants to know how your potential move will impact the existing parenting plan. Will the relocation substantially affect the other parent’s ability to exercise their rights to see their child?

The court will consider the kind of parenting plan you have and how far you want to move. For instance, if you have a 50-50 parenting time order and move two hours away, it is unrealistic to think that the other parent can exercise their parenting time with the children anymore. A 20-minute move may have little effect, whereas an out-of-state relocation certainly would.

How Does Money Play into a Relocation Decision?

Next, the court will look at the economics. How will your move financially impact you and your child’s other parent? For instance, can you and your ex afford the transportation costs for visits?

Let’s say you live in Colorado and your ex lives in Florida. If you’re suddenly moving to Japan, the cost of exchanging your children will increase exponentially. And that will be something that you need to get court permission for.

Is Relocating After Divorce in My Child’s Best Interest?

Finally, and most importantly, the judge will decide if the move is right for your child. Will this move benefit the child, or will it be detrimental?

Evidence to Support Your Relocation Request

You’ll need to assemble a case about why the move will be good for your children.

A Stronger Support System

For instance, are you moving closer to extended family? Will there be cousins there that are the same age as your children? Will the move mean they will be near grandparents with whom they have a close relationship? You’ll want to show that by moving you will have a support network that will benefit your kids.

Being Away from the Other Parent is Better

You will have to combat the fact that the court will perceive any diminished time your ex has with the children will hurt them. Your case needs to show the children will be better off despite the other parent spending less time with the children.

Benefits of a Different Environment

If your kids are not doing well in their current environment you may be able to demonstrate that the move will help them. Let’s say your child is struggling in school. Perhaps they need to get away from their current friends who are a bad influence on their behavior and grades. The court may see that relocating for their emotional and educational needs is in their best interests.

Talk to Your Ex if You Want to Relocate

You’ll want to let your ex-partner know if you’re considering relocating with your children. Let them know where you intend to move, why you want to move, and how you envision continuing the parenting plan following the move.

Your ex does not have to agree with your decision, but you are legally required to let them know before an attorney can file a motion with the court.

Get an Attorney if You’re Considering Moving After Divorce

As you can see, relocating with your children after a divorce is not as simple as packing a moving van and hitting the road for your new home. You will improve your chances of getting the court’s approval with a legal ally. Call 303-688-0944 to schedule a case assessment.

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