By James S. Margulis, Esq.
In this fast paced, ever changing world we live in, circumstances often times warrant relocation to another city. There are many reasons why: a new job opportunity, a family issue, financial circumstances, a new relationship or perhaps just a change in environment or a geographical cure.
Relocation is challenging, and when children are involved, there is a specific process a parent must follow in order to be able to relocate.
In Colorado, a parent who desires to relocate must notify the other party in writing of their request to relocate, the location of where you plan to relocate, the reason for relocation, and a proposed parenting plan relative to the new relocation.
It is best to send this written request prior to filing a Motion to Relocate Minor Children with the Court, though you are allowed to send it after you file the Motion. Regardless, you need to send the written request as soon as possible.
Relocating with children requires advance planning. It can take several months to obtain a hearing on the issue of relocation.
If the other parent receives the written request to relocate and agrees to the attached parenting plan, you do not have to proceed with the hearing. You merely file a Stipulation with the Court of the agreed upon relocation and parenting plan.
It is rare when a parent actually agrees to relocation, for obvious reasons.
The factors Colorado courts examine in making a relocation determination are as follows:
- The reasons why the party wishes to relocate;
- The reasons why the opposing party is objecting to the proposed relocation;
- The history and quality of each party's relationship with the child;
- The educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and the proposed new location;
- The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and the proposed new location;
- Any advantages of the child remaining with the primary caregiver;
- The anticipated impact of the move on the child;
- Whether the Court will be able to fashion a reasonable parenting time schedule if the change requested is permitted;
- Any other relevant factors bearing on the best interest of the child.
Thus, the review by the Court is extensive.
Relocation with children is not to be taken lightly and one must prepare an excellent outline and plan to be successful in having a Court approve the Relocation.
Relocation is often the right thing to do. It is often in the best interest of everyone involved. But like anything in life, it takes careful planning and solid execution.