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Relocating with your children after divorce

Wednesday, 07 October 2009

Parental removal or relocation of children after an initial custody order is in place can be a difficult undertaking.  In Colorado, new statutes are in place concerning child custody relocation, which have made it even trickier.  Previously, the parent who spent the majority of time with the children was favored in these cases, but now both parents equally share the burden of proving which household residence would better suit their children’s best interests. 

What does this new Colorado law mean to parents who currently share custody?

The Colorado Supreme Court has taken two competing concerns into account: the Constitutional right to travel (or in this case, relocate), and the Constitutional right of personal choice in matters pertaining to family life (which would mean both parents actively participate in the upbringing of their children.)  Since these two Constitutional rights would seem to compete in most child relocation cases, the Court has determined that any decision about child relocation would weigh each parent’s rights equally; with the expressed goal of doing what is in the best interests of their children.

If you are considering relocation for yourself and your children, and the move would require major changes in your current parenting plan, it makes sense to consult with a Colorado Springs Child Custody lawyer.  An attorney will help you decide on the best way to present your case to a mediator or judge and help you prove that the move would be advantageous to the child. 

Because each party stands on equal ground in the eyes of the Colorado Court, the focus will be on balancing the one parent’s right to travel with the other parent’s right to choice in family life.  Twenty other factors are specifically set forth in the Colorado statutes, nine of which are relevant to post-custody order relocation cases.  These factors must be viewed in light of all other information presented at the trial, or what the court can discover through child and family investigators (CFI’s).    In addition, the majority time parent must present the court with an agreeable modification to the existing parenting plan after the proposed move. 

What can the minority parent do to contest a move?

The minority parent may either wholly contest the move or seek to become the majority-time parent, or object to the proposed modifications to the parenting plan by providing an alternative arrangement. Because of the difficult and far-reaching issues related to child relocation, most Colorado judges will require some form of mediation before granting a hearing on the parent’s request.

While some parents find these new laws more difficult to work around, they do remind parents how important it is to continue working together as co-parents, always seeking to put their children’s needs before their own. 

If you find yourself facing a child relocation issue in Colorado, consult with a Colorado Springs child custody lawyer to determine the best course of action. 


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