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Overview of Arizona Child Relocation Laws
It is vital to understand the Arizona child relocation laws if you either want to move with your child or intend to prevent the other parent from moving with your child.
We will talk about the Arizona statute that applies to child relocation cases and when that statute does not apply to a proposed relocation of a child from Arizona.
We will then discuss the Arizona law that requires a parent to provide the other parent with notice of their intent to relocate a child from the state of Arizona and the objection period the other parent has to object to the relocation of a child from Arizona.
We will then discuss the specific factors the Arizona child relocation laws require a judge to consider when approving or denying a request from a parent to relocate a child to another state.
Lastly, we will discuss the impact of relocating a child on the increased costs associated with a parent exercising parenting time with a child living in another state.
When Arizona’s Child Relocation Laws Do and Do Not Apply
In Arizona, relocation of a child in Arizona is regulated by Arizona Revised Statute 25-408 only if there is a written child custody agreement or court order for custody of the children.
It is first essential to know when the requirements of Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-408 apply to a parent who wants to relocate with a child.
That statute only applies if the child’s parents have either a written agreement or a court order for custody of the child.
If there is no written agreement between the parents or a child custody order in place, the statute does not apply, and a parent is free to move with their child.
However, you should consult with a qualified child custody attorney before moving with your child if you know the other parent does not agree to the relocation.
Suppose there is a written agreement or court order about custody of the child. In that case, you will need to comply with the requirements of the child relocation laws in 25-408 if your proposed relocation will cause the child to live outside of Arizona or more than 100 miles from the child’s current residence.
Written Notice of Intent to Relocate a Child and Objections to Relocation
The first step in complying with Arizona child relocations laws is to provide the other parent with at least forty-five days’ written notice of your intention to relocate with your child.
You must serve that Notice of Intent to Relocate on the other parent by either sending it to them by certified mail or through a private process server.
The other parent then has thirty days to file a petition with the court to prevent the relocation of their child.
After that thirty days, a parent may only object to the relocation if they can establish “good cause” for not filing their petition to prevent the relocation in the first thirty days.
It is essential to understand that the statute does not apply if the relocation was either included in the existing child custody orders or agreement of the parties reached within twelve months of the proposed relocation date.
In some circumstances, the statute will allow a parent to temporarily relocate a child before the court determines whether it will permit the relocation.
It is crucial to speak to an experienced child custody attorney to determine if you may move your child before the court decides the issue.
Arizona Child Relocation Factors a Judge Must Consider
All child custody decisions, including whether to allow a child to relocate with a parent, are subject to the general child custody laws found in Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-403.
However, the “move-away law” in Arizona requires the court to consider several additional factors found in Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-408 when deciding if a proposed relocation of a child is in the child’s best interests.
These additional factors include the following:
1. Whether the relocation is being made or opposed in good faith and not to interfere with or to frustrate the relationship between the child and the other parent or the other parent’s right of access to the child;
2. The prospective advantage of the move for improving the general quality of life for the custodial parent or for the child;
3. The likelihood that the parent with whom the child will reside after the relocation will comply with parenting time orders;
4. Whether the relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for parenting time with each parent;
5. The extent to which moving or not moving will affect the emotional, physical or developmental needs of the child;
6. The motives of the parents and the validity of the reasons given for moving or opposing the move including the extent to which either parent may intend to gain a financial advantage regarding continuing child support obligations;
7. The potential effect of relocation on the child’s stability.
Cost of Long Distance Visitation When a Child is Allowed to Relocate
One of the issues that most parents do not have to face when both parents live relatively close to each other is the cost of transporting the children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s house.
However, that cost increases substantially when one parent lives in one state with the children while the other parent lives in another state.
Travel costs for the children between the parents’ homes can be substantial.
Arizona laws allow a court to apportion the costs of transporting the children for visitation between the parents in any manner the court determines to be in the children’s best interests.
Most “move away” cases are resolved by the parents going to trial on the issues.
You and your attorney must build a compelling case that either supports the relocation or prevents your child’s relocation. These cases are won and lost on the specific details that apply to you and your children.
If you need information on Arizona child relocation laws, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child relocation attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child relocation cases in Arizona.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona child relocation case around today.
How to Win a Child Relocation Case in Arizona?
The key to winning a child relocation case is to prove the relocation is in the best interests of the child. This can be difficult because most judges in Arizona place a lot of weight on the child having regular and frequent contact with the non-moving parent; which is more difficult the greater the distance between the non-moving parent and the moving parent and child. One way to view these cases is to demonstrate what the child’s life will be like if allowed to move versus what the child’s life will be like if the relocation is denied by the court to demonstrate it is in the child’s best interest to allow the relocation of a child.
What are the Odds of Winning a Child Relocation Case?
Although every case is strongly dependent on the unique facts of each case, it is generally very difficult to win a child relocation case as most judges in Arizona have a strong tendency to want to ensure a child spends frequent and continuing contact with both parents; which is difficult to accomplish if parents live far from each other.
What is Notice of Intent to Relocate?
A Notice of an Intent to Relocate is a written notice of a parent’s intent to relocate a child to another state or more than 100 miles from the child’s current residence. That notice must be sent to the other parent via certified mail at least forty-five (45) days prior to the scheduled relocation.
How Far Can a Parent Move With Joint Custody in Arizona?
The form of legal custody, such as joint custody or sole custody, has no bearing on how far a parent can move. All proposed child relocation cases, regardless of the form of legal custody, allow a parent to relocate anywhere in Arizona, so long as the move is not more than 100 miles from his or her current residence.
Questions About Moving Out of Arizona With a Child Where There is No Custody Agreement or Orders in Place?
Arizona Revised Statute 25-408 governs child relocation cases. That statute does not apply unless their is a written agreement or court order for joint custody or parenting time. As a result, you may be inclined to move with your child out of state. However, a court may look upon that decision to move without the other parent’s knowledge or consent negatively, which could affect the judges orders for custody of the child if the other parent petitions the court for custody of the child. So, it is not advisable to move a child from the state of Arizona without the other parent’s written consent or court order.
Reasons a Judge Will Deny Relocation of a Child in Arizona?
The number one reason a judge will deny relocation of a child in Arizona is the disruption a move away may have upon the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent.
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About the Author: Chris Hildebrand has over 26 years of Arizona family law experience and received awards from US News and World Report, Phoenix Magazine, Arizona Foothills Magazine and others. Visit https://www.hildebrandlaw.com.