February 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Moving your Arizona household if you are the custodial parent
Article provided by Thompson Law Firm
Visit us at http://www.cmthompsonlaw.com/
Once everyone has settled into new lives after divorce, inevitably things will continue to evolve for each ex-spouse. A divorced parent with custody of a child of the previous marriage may need or want to relocate to a new home with the child.
Impact of distance
A custodial parent move will probably affect the relationship of the child with the other parent. There may be logistical and financial impact on continuing contact if more distance is created between the child and noncustodial parent, and the noncustodial parent may be concerned about whether more distance will hurt the parent-child relationship.
If the parent with whom the child does not primarily live has legal custody -- meaning that parent has the right to make important decisions for the child like those concerning medical care, education and religion (often a right held jointly with the other parent) -- increased distance from the child may raise concerns for that noncustodial parent about remaining involved enough in the child's daily life to make informed decisions.
Fairness to custodial parent
On the other hand, it makes sense that an Arizona custodial parent after divorceshould to be able to move for a job, relationship, housing opportunity, extended family need, medical treatment or other reason. It does not seem fair that a divorced custodial parent should have to plan his or her life around where the ex-spouse lives.
Arizona relocation law
Considering the conflicting interests of the parties involved, Arizona law controls how such moves are handled, with the child's best interest being the bottom line. If both parents live in Arizona, and have either joint legal custody or both have unsupervised parenting time, 60 days written notice must be given to the noncustodial parent of a proposed move to another state or country, or of more than 100 miles within Arizona.
Presumably, if the noncustodial parent has neither joint legal custody nor unsupervised parenting time, he or she would not be entitled to any notice of the custodial parent's move.
The statute lays out a procedure for the parent receiving notice to petition the court to stop the relocation. If the parties previously agreed in a marital settlement agreement or parenting plan how they would handle future parental relocations, the court must enforce that agreement unless the judge finds it is not in the child's best interest.
Best interest of the child
The judge must also consider "all relevant factors" affecting the child's best interest in deciding whether to allow the relocation. The statute lists several factors that the court must weigh, including:
-Other relationships in the child's life
-Parental bad faith in proposing or opposing the move
-Improvement in the child's or custodial parent's quality of life
-Impact on parenting time; or on the child's health, adjustment or stability
-Parental health, including mental health
-The child's preference, if sufficiently mature to form and express it
A bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature that would change the relocation notice requirement significantly. That bill, which cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, would require notice to the noncustodial parent of any proposed move of any distance, even if the move would be just around the corner or even closer to the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent could file an objection after which the custodial parent would have to petition the court for permission to relocate.
Supporters of the change oppose the present 100-mile exemption and support noncustodial parent rights. Opponents think it could allow a noncustodial parent to harass the other parent by dragging him or her back to court even for a minor, inconsequential move.
Whatever happens with the proposed bill, any Arizona parent facing a relocation issue should consult with an experienced, knowledgeable family law attorney for education, guidance and representation.---
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