In Arizona family law, the term relocation refers to when a parent wants to relocate with a child out of state or a distance greater than 100 miles within Arizona. If both parents live in Arizona and share joint legal decision-making or parenting time, the parent who wants to relocate must obtain the other parent’s consent or a court order to move the child.
Notice to the Other Parent
The parent who wants to relocate must give written notice to the other parent at least forty-five days in advance. The notice should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Once notified, the other parent has thirty days to petition the family court to prevent the relocation of the child. If the parent does not object within this period, the child may relocate.
Best Interest Factors
When a parent opposes relocation, the family court must determine if the move is in the child’s best interest. Because these cases typically require modification of parenting time, the family court’s analysis begins with the best interest factors prescribed under A.R.S. § 25-403.
The family court also must consider the relocation-specific factors enumerated in A.R.S. § 25-408. Specifically, this section requires the court to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages to the child including how it will affect the child’s relationship with both parents.
Most Arizona family lawyers will agree there is some predisposition against relocation in family courts. This means that there is some disadvantage to parents who want to relocate with their children and it is a difficult burden to overcome. Because these cases are more complex than ordinary child custody determinations and usually require trial, it is especially important to hire the best child custody attorneys you can find. Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation.