Arizona Child Relocation Laws
Arizona Revised Statute 25-408 on Relocating a Child in Arizona
It is important to have a complete understanding of 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. In Arizona, relocation 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 important 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 parents of the child have either a written agreement or a court order for custody of the child.
If there is not a 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 his or her 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.
If there is a written agreement or court order pertaining to custody of the child, 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.
Legal Notice of Intent to Relocate With a Child
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 his or her 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 important to understand 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 date of the proposed relocation.
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 important to speak to an experienced child custody attorney to determine if you may move your child prior to the court deciding the issue.
Legal Factors in Child Relocation Cases
All child custody decisions, including decisions regarding 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. The “move away law” in Arizona, however, 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 Travel for Long Distance Visitation
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 home. 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 to travel 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.
Arizona Child Relocation Attorneys
Child relocation cases are very difficult cases to resolve because there is really no middle ground when one parent wants to move children out of state and the other parent wants to continue to see his or her children on a regular and recurring basis. As a result, most “move away” cases are resolved by the parents going to trial on the issues.
It is very important that you or your attorney understand how to build a case to either support the relocation of your children or build a case to stop the relocation of your children to another state. These cases are won and lost on the details that are specific to you and your children.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about Arizona child relocation laws to ensure everyone has access to information about child custody and “move away” cases in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and child custody attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.