Table of Contents
We have experience in representing clients when a parent continues moving children multiple times in Arizona child custody cases. In some cases, the moves can be in the best interests of the children. In some cases, the court’s have found that moving the children many times in an Arizona child custody case is not in the children’s best interests.
A parent is permitted to move with his or her children without court permission, so long as the move is not more than one hundred miles from their current residence. Otherwise, a parent seeking to move children must obtain an agreement or court order permitting the move. A parent should carefully read his or her parenting plan to determine if there are other restrictions on a parent moving with the children.
However, Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-408 (Arizona’s “Child Relocation Statute”) requires a parent to obtain the permission of the other parent or a court order for the proposed relocation if he or she wishes to relocate more than one hundred miles from their current residence. In any case, the parents are entitled to notice of the relocation before it happens.
An interesting Arizona Court of Appeals decision recently dealt with multiple moves, each of which was less than one hundred miles, but cumulatively was much more than one hundred miles. Can a parent avoid the one hundred mile restrictions of the statute simply by making multiple ninety-nine-mile moves and, essentially, hopscotch a child away from the other parent through multiple moves?
The Arizona Court of Appeals issued a decision regarding the relocation of children by a parent and how the Arizona statute designating one hundred miles as a limit for relocation should be calculated in the case Michelle Vincent v. Jeffrey Nelson.
In 2008, Vincent filed for dissolution of marriage. During a resolution management conference in 2009, Vincent informed the court she intended to move to either Payson or Heber. At the time, both parties resided in Phoenix, and temporary orders were in place for custody and parental visitation.
The court informed Vincent, the moving parent, she could not move the children more than one hundred miles from her current address without Nelson’s agreement or the court’s approval. After Vincent discovered Payson was within the one hundred mile limit and Heber was not, she informed the court she would be moving to Payson. The court encouraged the parties to reach an agreement on the issue, but if they could not, the court indicated it would make the decision.
At the dissolution trial, the parties informed the court they had not reached an agreement. Vincent added that she still intended to move to Payson, where she had already acquired a job and an apartment.
Calculating Distance After More Than One Move With the Children
The court concluded the children’s quality of life would improve by moving to Payson for reasons, including the fact Vincent had extended family there, she had the opportunity to earn more money, and the rent was lower. In the final decree, the family court awarded joint legal decision-making to the parties and designated Vincent as the primary physical custodian. The decree did not address her relocation.
From 2009 to 2013, Vincent moved several times. At the end of 2009, the venue for the case was changed from Maricopa County to Gila County. In 2012, she moved to Lakeside and petitioned the court to change the venue from Gila County to Navajo County. Nelson, who still resided in Maricopa County, objected and petitioned the court to transfer the venue back to Maricopa County, which the court granted.
In 2013, Nelson filed a petition for modification. A few days before the hearing, Nelson filed an amended pretrial statement in which he argued that the statutory distance limit should be invoked to disallow Vincent’s move to Lakeside.
Restart the Odometer When a Child Relocation Has Been Approved by the Court
The court ruled that her relocation to Payson in 2009 was authorized by the court in an oral pronouncement and regarding her move to Lakeside, the provisions of the statute were inapplicable because Lakeside is less than 100 miles from Payson.
The court also found that Nelson failed to demonstrate a material change in circumstances affecting the children’s welfare. Additionally, the court granted Vincent attorney fees, finding Nelson unreasonable in raising the relocation challenge just a few days before the hearing. Finally, the court ordered the venue transferred to Navajo County.
Nelson appealed the trial court’s decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals. He argued the statute applied to the situation, contending that the trial court should have measured the mileage from Phoenix, which was where Vincent resided when the 2009 decree was issued. The court examined a similar case, Thompson, to help make their decision.
In Thompson, the mother lived in Alpine and informed the court that she wanted to move with the children to Show Low. The court approved her relocation in a temporary order that also established custody and visitation. Before the final decree was issued, the mother moved to Show Low.
After the court entered the final decree, the mother notified the court she intended to relocate to Payson. The father objected, arguing that the mileage limitation statute required the court to calculate the distance of the mother’s relocation by adding the miles of her first and second move, which would exceed the 100-mile limit.
The court of appeals held in that case that the statute did not apply because the court had approved her original move and she moved within one year of that approval. When the court approved the move and rendered the 100-mile limit inapplicable, the miles of the court-authorized relocation are exempt from future calculations.
The court decided that the cases were similar, but there was a fundamental difference between the two. In this case, Vincent’s first move was authorized by the court, but unlike the mother, in Thompson, she did not relocate before the issuance of the 2009 decree.
Nelson contended that the court should apply the Thompson court’s language that a parent granted joint custody or parenting time has the right to move up to 100 miles from the parent’s physical location with the child as of the date of the court order entitling both parents custody or parenting time. If the language were applied, the trial court’s approval of Vincent’s move would mostly be negated because she did not move until after the decree was issued.
Exemption for the Distance of the First Authorized Move With the Children
The court concluded that because the facts were different in this case than they were in Thompson, they needed to interpret the language accordingly. The distance statute provides a one-year time limit for approved relocations to be completed, and Vincent’s was completed promptly. Because of this, the court decided that the fact she relocated a week after the decree was entered, rather than before, should not affect their decision.
This led them to rule that the trial court correctly determined the mileage of Vincent’s first move to be exempted from future calculations and the starting point for distance applications would be her address in Payson. Therefore, because Lakeside is less than 100 miles from Payson, the mileage limitation statute does not apply, and Nelson’s relocation challenge was rejected.
The Rule for Calculating Distance When Children Are Moved Multiple Times in Arizona
This case demonstrates that when a parent going through the divorce process in Arizona decides to move more than 100 miles within the state from their current residence with their child, they must obtain an agreement with the other parent or a court order. After receiving that approval and relocating promptly, any further moves will be measured from that place of their new residence rather than the original location.
If you have questions about relocation of a child in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child custody and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child custody and family law cases.
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 child custody or family law case around today.
More Articles About Child Custody in Arizona
- CHILD CUSTODY LAWS IN ARIZONA
- CHILD RELOCATION IS A MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CALCULATING DISTANCE FOR CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES FOR CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATIONS IN ARIZONA
- EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY WHEN ARIZONA LACKS JURISDICTION
- HOW TO REGISTER A CHILD CUSTODY ORDER IN ARIZONA
- HOME STATE CUSTODY JURISDICTION WHEN A CHILD RELOCATES TO ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD RELOCATION LAWS
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION: TEMPORARY VERSUS PERMANENT RELOCATIONS
- TEMPORARY VISITATION ORDERS FOR GRANDPARENTS IN ARIZONA
- CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE DOES NOT APPLY IN ARIZONA
- SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SOLE CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- SIGNIFICANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD CUSTODY MATTERS IN ARIZONA
- RAISING ALLEGATIONS THAT WERE RAISED IN A PRIOR ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- MULTI-STATE CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- SCHOOL CHOICE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- UNAUTHORIZED RELOCATION OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENTS CANNOT PREVENT CHILD RELOCATION IN ARIZONA
- WHEN ARIZONA’S CHILD RELOCATION STATUTE DOES NOT APPLY
- UCCJEA CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- FAILING TO ALLEGE A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN MODIFYING CHILD CUSTODY
- CHILD CUSTODY AND NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDERS IN ARIZONA
- CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES TO CHANGE CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- MUTUAL ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- PARENTING TIME WITH A NON-BIOLOGICAL CHILD IN ARIZONA
- WHEN A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IS REQUIRED IN ARIZONA
- HOSTILE COMMUNICATIONS A BASIS TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- DUE PROCESS RIGHTS IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY HEARING
- THIRD PARTY VISITATION WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- SUITABLE NOTICE FOR AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY HEARING
- MEANING OF HOME STATE JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- WHAT DOCTORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- WITHHOLDING CHILDREN FROM A CUSTODIAL PARENT IN ARIZONA
- THE BEST CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER IN ARIZONA
- FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- WHO GETS CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN WHEN A DIVORCE IS FILED IN ARIZONA
- WHAT VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME SCHEDULES CAN JUDGES ORDER IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY AND JOINT LEGAL DECISION MAKING IN ARIZONA
- WHAT IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- WHAT IS A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION IN ARIZONA
- WHAT HAPPENS IF A PARENT WANTS TO MOVE OUT OF STATE WITH A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- WHAT ARE THE CHILD CUSTODY FACTORS IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- RESTRICTIONS IN ARIZONA ON TAKING CHILDREN TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
- PRESUMPTION OF EQUAL PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRESUMPTION IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- PREPARING FOR AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION
- PARENTING TIME AFTER LOSING AN ORDER OF PROTECTION HEARING IN ARIZONA
- PARENTAL ALIENATION IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- PARENT INFORMATION PROGRAM CLASS IN ARIZONA
- JOINT CUSTODY AND SCHOOL DECISIONS IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO GET SOLE CUSTODY OF CHILDREN IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO ENFORCE PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO CHANGE A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO MODIFY VISITATION OR PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- GRANDPARENT CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- GETTING EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- ENFORCING VISITATION AS A NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT
- DO COURTS FAVOR MOTHERS IN CUSTODY BATTLES
- ARIZONA COURTS CANNOT DELEGATE CHILD CUSTODY DETERMINATIONS TO AN EXPERT
- CONTESTING RELOCATION OF A CHILD WHEN YOU DO NOT LIVE IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE
- CHANGING A CHILD’S LAST NAME IN ARIZONA
- CAN A PARENT WITH SOLE CUSTODY LIMIT ACCESS TO A CHILD’S MEDICAL RECORDS
- CAN A GRANDPARENT OR STEPPARENT BE AWARDED CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- AFFIDAVITS IN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY IN ARIZONA
- WITNESS PREPARATION IN ARIZONA DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- EFFECT OF CORONAVIRUS ON CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ORDERS
- TEMPORARY ORDERS FOR GRANDPARENT VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- CAN A STEPPARENT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR WRONGFUL DENIAL OF VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY LAWS IN ARIZONA
- CUSTODY OF THE FAMILY PET IN A DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO GET CUSTODY OF A CHILD IN AN ARIZONA DEPENDENCY CASE
- JUDGES CANNOT REQUIRE A CHILD TO SEE A THERAPIST IN AN ARIZONA CUSTODY DISPUTE
- CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT WITH SPLIT CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- EXCLUDING EVIDENCE DISCLOSED LATE IN A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- HEARING REQUIRED BEFORE DECLINING CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION IN ARIZONA
- FILING A LATE OBJECTION TO CHILD RELOCATION NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- CAN VISITATION WITH A CHILD BE REDUCED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE IN ARIZONA
- WHEN FINDINGS OF FACT ARE NOT REQUIRED IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- FINAL DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- IMPORTANCE OF MEDIATING CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES IN A DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
- CHANGING CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA WHEN A PARENT RELOCATES TO ANOTHER STATE
- WHAT IS A THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONIST IN ARIZONA
- DISMISSAL OF A PETITION TO MODIFY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- CAN A BEST INTEREST ATTORNEY TESTIFY AT A CHILD CUSTODY TRIAL IN ARIZONA
- CHILD CUSTODY AND CRIMINAL RECORDS IN ARIZONA
- FATHER AWARDED CUSTODY ON MOTHER’S MOTION TO MODIFY IN ARIZONA
- HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IN ARIZONA
- CO-PARENTING WITH YOUR EX IN ARIZONA
- THIRD PARTY SEEKING EMERGENCY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL IN ARIZONA
- SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY OVER MEDICAL DECISIONS IN ARIZONA
- BEWARE OF THE KNOWN DONOR IN STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA
- SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- FAILING TO APPEAR FOR A CHILD CUSTODY HEARING IN ARIZONA
- PROHIBITING CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL AS A CONDITION OF PARENTING TIME
- JURISDICTION IS NECESSARY TO PETITION FOR VISITATION IN ARIZONA
- JURISDICTION FOR DEPENDENCY CASES IN ARIZONA
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- GUIDELINES FOR SUPERVISED PARENTING TIME IN ARIZONA
- EXCLUDING TESTIMONY IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- RIGHT OF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM TO BE HEARD IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- CHANGING PARENTING TIME WHEN CHILDREN CHANGE SCHOOLS
- APPEALING DEPENDENCY ORDERS IN ARIZONA
- RIGHT TO NOTICE AND AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- HABEAS CORPUS IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- JURISDICTION OVER A MINOR CHILD RESIDING OUTSIDE THE STATE OF ARIZONA
- DENIAL OF ADDITIONAL TIME TO PRESENT EVIDENCE IN AN ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY CASE
- PARENTING PLANS IN ARIZONA DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY CASES
- VISITATION RIGHTS OF A PERSON STANDING IN LOCO PARENTIS TO A CHILD IN ARIZONA
- MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY AND CHILD ABDUCTION IN ARIZONA
- TEMPORARY CHILD CUSTODY ORDERS IN AN ARIZONA DIVORCE DECREE
- CAN A STEPPARENT OBTAIN CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS IN ARIZONA
- IN LOCO PARENTIS VISITATION WITH A CHILD BY A STEPPARENT IN ARIZONA
- BEST INTEREST STANDARD FOR THIRD PARTY CHILD CUSTODY IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA CHILD CUSTODY DECISIONS CANNOT BE DELEGATED TO AN EXPERT
- USE OF THE UCCJEA IN DEPENDENCY CASES IN ARIZONA
- ARIZONA UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT STATUTES
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONLY ONE SPOUSE ADOPTS A CHILD IN ARIZONA