As their professional and personal lives become mobile, relocation is a common phenomenon for Colorado parents, raising their children in separate homes. When a primary parent wants to move, whether in Colorado or elsewhere, the situation can cause bitter disputes. In the Ciesluk case, the family law court stated that child parenting disputes present excruciating decision-making moments for trial court judges.
Particularly when one parent wants to move with the minor child against the wishes of the other parent. Unlike other child custody battles, relocations present practical limitations that can significantly affect the parenting schedule of one parent with the children, even if that parent is a loving, involved, and fit parent. No matter what your position in such a child custody dispute, you may not know where to begin with enforcing your parental rights as a parent.
Fortunately, you can trust our experienced child custody attorney at Brighter Day℠ Law, to advise you on the relevant child custody laws and represent you in court proceedings. We have decades of experience representing parents on both sides of the law, so we can help you in seeking relocation or fighting the residential parent’s efforts to move. Please contact our Colorado family law firm today at (719) 225-4443 to set up a consultation with one of our skilled child relocation lawyers.
Colorado Laws’ Procedure And Relevant Factors For Custody Relocation Cases
In September 2001, the Colorado statutes established a new standard and procedure for reviewing cases where the parent with whom the child spends the most time with seeks to move to a new residence substantially changing the geographic ties between the non-relocating parent and the child.
Under the Colorado child custody and visitation relocation law, the parent seeking to move with a child must provide a written notice to the non-moving parent, stating:
- His or her intent to relocate
- The location of the proposed new residence
- The reasons for the requested move or relocation
- A proposed and revised parenting time plan and parenting time schedule
The Colorado child custody and visitation relocation law further states that the court considering a relocation request must determine if the relocation “is in the child’s best interests.” The judge must also consider all relevant factors, including ordinary custody-visitation-parenting time factors, and the following additional concerns.
- Reasons the parent wants to move or relocate with the child
- The reasons the other parent disputes the proposed move
- Quality and history of each parent’s relationship with the children since earlier court orders
- The educational opportunities for the kid in the present home community and/or in the proposed new household community
- Whether there are extended family members in the present home community and/or in the proposed new home community
- The benefits of the kid remaining with the custodial parent he or she presently spends a majority of the time with
- The anticipated impact of the relocation or move on the child’s mental ,and physical health.
- Whether the other parent can afford meaningful parenting time-visitation if the move or relocation is granted
- Any other factors relevant concerning the best interests of the child
Colorado law also recognizes that relocating even within the state of Colorado can significantly disrupt present parenting plans and child custody arrangements. The new Colorado parenting law applies to any intended relocation that may significantly affect geographic ties.
How Far Can a Parent Move with Joint Child Custody in Colorado?
Colorado family court judges answer this question on a case-by-case basis. Once a parenting schedule is in place, a parent who is planning to relocate must notify the other parent and the family law court. The notice on relocation must include the following information:
- Reasons the parent is moving
- The location of the new residence
- Proposed updates to parenting schedule and the parenting plan
- The family court judge will determine if the joint custody arrangement should be modified.
- The family court judge will base his or her decision on the best interests of the child or children involved.
Family court judges can’t tell parents whether they can move. Instead, the court will examine the planned relocation by evaluating the current child custody schedule as if the relocation has already happened. Then, the judge will update the current parenting time agreement if necessary. Some factors the judge considers when making these essential decisions include the extracurricular activities, current locations of the child’s school, friends, and other loved ones. Also, the judge will evaluate the schools, opportunities, and family members available in the new location.
Typically, the court may adjust joint custody agreements if one parent is planning to move far away from where a child has established routines and healthy relationships.
It’s essential to remember that modifying joint custody agreements to accommodate parental relocations doesn’t mean that family law courts will automatically take away parenting time from either parent. It simply means that the parenting time schedule within a joint child custody agreement must be rearranged. For example, the court may reassign parenting time schedules by changing daily arrangements to ever- other-week arrangements to limit frequent movements over longer distances.
The Legal Child Relocation Process In Colorado
Our experienced child relocation lawyers at Brighter Day℠ Law will handle all crucial tasks, but you should know how the child relocation court proceedings work. To get court permission, the plaintiff must first provide the defendant with a notice stating the intention to relocate. Also, the custodial parent must disclose the proposed location, the reasons for relocation, and a proposed parenting schedule to account for the new living arrangement. If the non-relocating parent objects, relocation will be decided by the court at a contested hearing. The legal process involves:
- The moving parent must legally request permission by filing a motion in court, along with all supporting paperwork and other proof that there are valid reasons that warrant the move.
- As the respondent, the non-custodial parent will have the chance to object to the motion to move to a new location.
- The parties will then attend a contested hearing, which is like a court trial. Each party will present arguments, additional witnesses, testimony, and other evidence.
- The family law court will decide the relocation issues after considering the child’s best interests standard and additional factors mentioned above.
How Do You Prove Best Interest of the Child?
You can prove to the court that you have your child’s best interests at heart by proving that you have been actively involved in your child’s life and have provided loving care.
You can show this by proving that you have enrolled your kid in school, are involved in their upbringing and education, have taken part in extracurricular activities, and have made other parenting decisions showing an interest in taking care of your child.
In cases involving both parents, the judge may also consider if one party is more willing to facilitate a loving relationship with the other party, thus striving to rebuild trust with your ex-spouse also can help to prove your intentions.
Contact Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys for Help with Child Relocation Issues!
If you’re going through a child relocation dispute, it’s critical to hire an experienced child custody lawyer in Colorado Springs who can explain your custody rights, help you understand your legal options, and represent you in court. The Colorado child relocation attorneys at Brighter Day℠ Law have decades of experience defending and pursuing relocation cases, so we can help you with all aspects of the child relocation proceeding.
For more information, please call (719) 225-4443 or submit our contact form to schedule a no-cost initial consultation to discuss the details of your child relocation case.