Custodial Relocation2020-05-17T16:48:08-07:00

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Custodial Relocation

We use the term custodial relocation to refer to child custody cases where one parent wants to move somewhere with the children that would adversely affect the other parent’s parenting time. These cases are far more complicated than ordinary parenting time determinations. No matter which side of the case you are on, we can help. Our experienced child custody attorneys have successfully litigated for and against custodial relocations.

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Most family law attorneys will agree that there is a predisposition against relocation in Arizona family courts, so it is very important to understand how these cases are decided.

When family courts decide relocation cases, they must consider the best interest factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-403 and the relocation-specific factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-408. Courts primarily consider the reason(s) for the relocation, the advantages it will provide the children,  and how it will affect the other parent’s parenting time. The parent who seeks to relocate essentially must prove that the benefits of relocation outweigh the costs to the relationship between the children and the other parent. These cases usually go to trial because there is little room for compromise. It makes it even more important to hire or at least consult with an experienced child custody attorney.

When the family court decides relocation cases, it usually must create a long-distance parenting plan. We say “usually” because sometimes the parent who wants to relocate changes their mind and decides to stay. A long-distance parenting plan typically establishes who the children live with primarily and awards parenting time to the other parent during summers and extended school breaks.

When parenting time is subject to a long-distance schedule there may be costs like airfare for the non-custodial parent to exercise their parenting time. These costs can be significant, particularly if the parenting schedule provides frequent intervals of parenting time. The family court has discretion to allocate the travel costs between the parents, but this does not affect either parent’s child support obligation.

Below are some resources to help parents who are researching relocation or trying to represent themselves in family court.

If you have questions about relocation or any other family law issue, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

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