The end of formal divorce proceedings may not necessarily signal the end of the need for a now-formerly married couple to associate with each other.
Indeed, if the two have children together, they must coordinate to meet the mandates of a custody agreement and to make important decisions regarding the kids’ futures.
Approaching the issue of relocation
Sometimes, one parent eventually wants to relocate to a new area far enough away that the distance may limit the other parent’s access to the children. In this case, he or she must try to work with the other parent to come up with a revised custody agreement.
Parents will almost certainly need to make changes to ensure that there is not a drastic reduction in the nonrelocating parent’s parenting time. They may benefit from being the ones dictating those changes rather than leaving the matter to the court.
Approaching one’s ex-spouse well in advance of a proposed relocation with a willingness to come to an amicable agreement may increase the chances of that happening.
Making the case for relocating
Of course, the nonrelocating spouse may object to the relocation altogether, and then the court having jurisdiction over the couple’s custody case would hold a hearing. Knowing the often time-sensitive nature of a relocation, the court may place such cases at the front of its docket. In this hearing, both sides will present their cases.
The relocating parent must demonstrate why the move may be good for the kids, and the nonrelocating parent must prove that his or her objections to it are legitimate. Per Colorado’s Revised Statutes, the court will consider the following:
- The information offered by both parents
- The history and quality of each parent’s relationships with the kids
- The educational opportunities available to the children at the proposed new location
- The presence or lack of extended family at the new location
- The advantages the children may have by remaining with the relocating parent
- Whether the parents can arrange a reasonable custody schedule to accommodate the move
The decision of the court typically will not determine whether to bar a parent from moving, but rather how drastically to modify the current custody agreement.