Custodial parent relocations can be among the most difficult and complex child custody cases to litigate. This is because Arizona law requires the family court to consider several factors in addition to the ordinary best interest factors that must be considered in all child custody cases.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-408, a parent cannot relocate the child without the other parent’s consent or a court order if the parents both live in Arizona and both parents are entitled to parenting time and/or legal decision-making authority.
In this particular case, Mother needed to relocate when her husband’s employer transferred him to another office in another state. The child’s Father opposed the relocation and hired a very experienced family lawyer in Phoenix to file a preemptive objection. Mother retained our firm for its litigation resources when it became obvious that the issue would require trial. We petitioned the family court to allow the child to relocate with Mother. Father counter-petitioned to deny relocation of the child and to designate Father as the primary residential parent.
**Note: A family court cannot prevent a parent from relocating, but it can decide whether or not the child may relocate. When the judge grants a relocation, the parenting plan is usually modified to maximize the non-moving parent’s time. Under an ordinary long-distance parenting plan, the non-moving parent may exercise parenting time for most of the summers and extended academic breaks.
This case proceeded to trial, where the attorneys for both parents presented their cases. We focused on testimony and evidence to address each of the statutory factors, which we believe makes it a little bit easier for the judge to make the required findings in our client’s favor.
After trial, the judge took the matter under advisement, which means that he did not issue a ruling from the bench the same day. In fact, it took nearly two months for the family court to enter its orders, but when it did, it granted our client’s petition to relocate with the parties’ child.
Cost Comparison: The flat fee in this case saved our client $8,900 when compared to a $250.00 hourly rate.