Arizona custody and relocation laws are designed to protect the rights of the child. Before a parent can be allowed to relocate with a child, the courts will investigate whether the move will harm the existing relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent.
After a divorce, one parent may want to relocate to another city or state for various reasons. For example, the parent may want to start a new life or may be moving due to career prospects. The relocation will greatly affect the existing custody arrangement.
If divorced partners cannot agree on how to handle custody when one of them wants to relocate, the court can step in to direct the custodial arrangement. When evaluating the relocation, the court will mainly be looking at the welfare of the child.
There are many factors that can affect a relocation custody case. For this reason, it is critical to work with an experienced local family attorney in Arizona to help you.
Arizona Child Custody Laws
Before a custodial arrangement decision is made, the court will do everything possible to protect the child’s welfare. Some of the things that the court will consider include:
- The child’s adjustment to the home and community
- Do any of the parents have a history of child abuse or domestic violence?
- Each of the parent’s ability to provide a stable life for the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The physical and mental health of each parent
The judge can award sole or joint custody of the child after considering the above factors, as well as any others that may be relevant to the child’s well-being.
While one parent may be granted sole physical custody of the child, the court can also award joint legal custody. However, the parent with physical custody typically has an advantage when it comes to relocating with the child.
Arizona Custody and Relocation Laws
Relocation is more than just moving down the street or across own. If the parents have joint legal child custody, the relocating parent is required to inform the other parent about the intended relocation. This should be done at least 45 days before moving. The advance notice is required for a move that is equal to 100 miles away within Arizona.
If the non-moving parent is opposed to the relocation, he or she can petition the court to prevent it. Should the court refuse to grant relocation, the parent can still move, but without the child.
How Are Arizona Relocation Cases Determined?
When a relocation case is before the court, a judge will hear live testimony from all the figures that are important to the child These include both parents, teachers, relatives, school counselors, and others. From the testimonies provided, the judge will consider the following before making a ruling:
- Why the parent wants to move
- Whether the move is in good faith or simply meant to prevent the other parent from having regular contact with the child
- How the relocation will affect the child’s quality of life
- How the move will affect the past, present, and potential relationship of the child with both parents
- The potential effects that less visitation from the non-moving parent will have on the child
- What the child prefers, if he/she is of sufficient age and maturity
- How easy or difficult it will be for the child to adjust to the new home or community
In a child custody case involving relocation, the moving parent has the burden of proving that moving will be in the best interest of the child. While each parent has a right to move and further their careers, their moving should advance the welfare of the child.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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