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Can my ex-spouse move with the kids?

| Dec 7, 2020 | Family Law |

The biggest fear for many who divorce is that they will lose regular contact with their children. A divorce agreement typically includes details about how far away a coparent can move, but if the custodial parent or the parent with custody may still try to move across town, out of state or to another country. This can be extremely difficult on the children and the other parent.

Colorado is like other states in that it generally assigns joint custody to both parents. It includes decision making responsibilities on the care and well-being of the children and opportunities for regular visitation or often living under the same roof. However, parents will sometimes need to leave to take a new job or be closer to their family.

Modifications need to be approved

Moving far away makes it difficult for parents to share responsibilities and can damage the parent-child relationship. The children may also have to endure being uprooted and moved, leaving behind one parent as well as schools, friends, loved ones and the community where they have grown up.

Any move that makes the current parenting plan impractical or impossible will need to be approved by the other parent or the court. If the other parent does not sign off on the move, judges will weigh the children’s best interests and other important factors to determine where the children will live. These include:

  • Why the parent wishes to move
  • Why the other parent objects to the move
  • The nature of the parent-child relationship
  • How the move likely will affect that children
  • Educational opportunities at the proposed residence
  • And other factors

Each parent will have an equal opportunity to argue for moving or staying. If the parents are from different states, the children’s home state has jurisdiction over this decision, or the retains jurisdiction until the entire family leaves that state. Jurisdiction would then switch to the state where the parent who pays support resides.

Parents often find the best solution

It is impossible in some cases for parents to agree on a parenting plan, which is why they end up in court. But co-parents who create their agreement with the help of an attorney often have the best chance for success because they balance the children’s needs, the parents’ rights and the realities of the potential move.