As difficult as it may have been to go through a breakup and subsequent custody dispute, you may have had hopes that you and your ex would eventually fall into a parenting routine that would become a natural part of your lives. Perhaps you even had a year or more of relatively conflict-free custody arrangements, and you felt you and your ex were making the best of an imperfect situation.
If you have recently learned that your ex intends to move with the children more than 100 miles from where you live or even out of Arizona altogether, you may be feeling many emotions. Your first order of business may be to review your custody agreement to see if it grants your ex the right to relocate with the children without your consent. If it does not, you would be wise to seek sound legal advice about your options.
Making your case
Relocation conflicts are something family law courts do not relish. Child experts believe that having both parents within close proximity generally provides a more stable situation and allows the children to bond equally with both parents. In fact, you may find that the opinion of the court is on your side if your goal is to keep your children close. While the laws in each state differ, your ex may have the following challenges for a successful petition to relocate with the children:
- Notifying you in writing within the amount of time required by Arizona law
- Proving that the move is in good faith, such as having a definitive job offer, rather than for a negative reason, such as retaliation against you
- Providing the court with a proposed modification of custody sharing that includes travel options and allows the children time with you that matches your current court order
- Demonstrating that the move will ultimately benefit the children, such as having access to better schools or being closer to extended family
At the same time, you should be ready to show the court that the move would disrupt your children’s lives and that you are a stable and involved parent. Your goal of remaining a vital part of your children’s lives may take considerable effort as you fight your ex’s plans to modify your existing custody order. By contacting a skilled attorney, you can obtain a complete evaluation of your situation and options for the most appropriate course of action.