Summertime is a popular time for parents to move, as it means that their child will have time to adjust to their new home before the school year starts. However, when parents are divorced, moving is not as simple as packing up your things and taking off for your new home. If there is a child custody and parental visitation order in place, the parent that wants to move may need to seek a modification of the order first.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-129, if a parent wishes to modify a child custody order because of a move, the court will do so if it is in the child’s best interests. If the custodial parent is moving and the move will significantly alter the geographic ties between the child and the noncustodial parent, the court may consider other factors.
The court may consider the reason why the custodial parent wants to move away with the child. Conversely, the court may consider why the noncustodial parent objects to the proposed move. The history and quality of both parent’s relationship with the child may be considered. The educational opportunities the child has, both in their current home and their proposed home, may be considered. Also, the presence or absence of relatives in the child’s current home and at the proposed home may be considered. If there are any advantages to the child staying with the primary caregiver, the court may take this into account. How the relocation would impact the child may also be taken into consideration. Finally, whether it is possible to craft a reasonable parenting time schedule if the move is to take place may be considered.
People may have many good reasons for wanting to move, but, regardless of the advantages a move would bring to the parent, the best interests of the child must prevail. Since each case is fact-specific and this post is for informational purposes only, those who are wondering if they can seek a modification of an existing child custody and visitation order may want to seek legal advice.