Change isn't Always Negative we can help there is a positive future ahead
Change isn't Always Negative, we can help you move on there is a positive future ahead
By: Sampair Group

The Impact of Relocation on Child Custody Agreements in Arizona

Phoenix family law

Could Arizona’s Laws Regarding Relocation Affect Parts Of My Divorce Decree?

In Arizona, many of the state’s laws about relocation are intertwined with laws on parenting, child custody, legal decision-making for your child, and more.

If you, as divorced parents, have a parenting plan in place and you both live in Arizona, then strict restrictions are put into place if you ever wish to relocate with your child. As a divorced couple, if you want(or must) relocate with your children more than one hundred miles away, you cannot do so without the approval from either your ex-spouse or the Arizona court.

The state has strict and unbending rules that govern the relocation of children, encompassed in A.R.S. § 25-408 of the Arizona legislature.

This law states that if you and your ex-spouse have a written agreement or court order stating that both of you are entitled to joint parenting time, legal decision-making, etc., you must give the other spouse at least forty-five days before relocating.

This “requirement of notice” is a vital aspect of the state’s statute because it gives your former partner the time and opportunity to object to the relocation if they wish.

If your ex-spouse decides to object, the court will take all the time necessary to determine the appropriateness and need for your proposed relocation. The court will focus on many aspects of the move and how it may adversely affect the rights of the non-relocating parent.

It’s also vital for you to note that when the court rules on the proposed relocation, it will always consider what is primarily in the best interest of the children involved; this viewpoint always comes first in any decisions the court makes.

Additionally, proving that your relocation is in the child’s best interest must always be done by you as the relocating parent.

One of the most critical tenets of A.R.S. § 25-411 states that the court cannot modify an order for legal decision-making or parenting time (and possibly more) earlier than one year after its date, commonly known as the “One year rule.”

Simply put, if you have child custody orders in place in your divorce, you must wait at least one year before the court will modify these orders. Your lawyer will explain that there are precise exceptions to the one-year rule pertaining to the modification of child custody, and it is highly challenging to overcome.

In any relocation case, the professional help, guidance, and knowledge of a Scottsdale child custody and relocation lawyer are absolutely mandatory because of Arizona’s strict laws.

What May the Arizona Judge Consider When Ruling On My Long Distance Relocation?

Let’s say you’re the custodial parent and must move out of state; without exception, you must first obtain the court’s permission. Also, know that you could be facing severe legal ramifications if you do not notify the court of your possible move, either out-of-state or over 100 miles in-state.

As far as the Arizona court is concerned, the controlling Arizona statute is A.R.S. § 25-408. This statute will always apply whenever you have a written agreement or court order stipulating that both parents are entitled to specific custody, parenting time, etc.

So, in any of these relocation cases, the judge will always look at what possible impact this move will have on the child and such facts such as;

  • All the pertinent circumstances that led the custodial parent to relocate.
  • How will this move affect the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights?
  • Is the move likely motivated by a desire to keep your child away from the noncustodial parent?
  • Is this move motivated by bad faith or a desire to gain an advantage regarding child support?
  • What overall effects will this move have on your child’s mental and physical well-being, and much more.

You see that any relocation case is legally and otherwise challenging, and you must get your “ducks in a row” well before you put your case in front of the Arizona courts. Your skilled, experienced, and thorough Scottsdale child custody law team will always help ensure you present your case in the best possible legal light.

What Are The Basic Tenets of Arizona’s Child Custody Laws?

The main point to remember is that the primary consideration (among many others) is the type of custody and visitation arrangement that best serves the child’s emotional and physical needs.

Some of the vital things the court will pursue are;

  • The physical and mental health of each parent.
  • The type of relationship the child has with the parents.
  • The overall parent’s ability to provide the child with a stable life and home.
  • If there is any history of domestic violence or child abuse by either parent.
  • The child’s adjustment and relationship to their present home and community.

When relocation is being considered, the judge will go over all these factors (and more) and could alter your original custody arrangement or anything else that might be relevant to the child’s well-being.

Even if you and your ex-spouse share legal custody or one parent has sole physical custody, your custody arrangement could be altered due to significant changes due to the relocation.

Therefore, as stated, discussing all the pertinent and salient factors that could occur with your child relocation and custody lawyer will significantly help avoid possible roadblocks to your move.

Can I Relocate Without Court Intervention If My Ex-Spouse and I Agree?

This is a very tricky legal question, and then tempting to relocate when you have a divorce decree in place without court intervention should always be discussed with your skilled child custody and relocation lawyer. Although it can be done, the court must still be told what agreement you’ve decided upon and how you both plan to carry out this agreed-upon relocation plan.

Also, it would be best if you remembered that whatever you agree upon must still be in writing, drafted by a professional, and presented to the court. That said, it can be done, which can be much simpler than doing everything to the courts, but it should never be done without the help of a professional, experienced child custody lawyer, or you may find yourself in dire trouble.

The basic Arizona family law rules clearly state that any agreement may be valid and binding if it is in writing and signed by the parties and if the parties declare the agreement’s terms on the record before a judge.

But, even if you and your ex-spouse agree on how you can work together to make this relocation possible, no agreement or consent between you or your lawyers is binding unless it is in writing or made orally in open court and entered in the court’s minutes.

I Am Considering Relocation With My Child; How Should I Proceed?

First, fully understand the ramifications of relocation over 100 miles in the state or moving out of Arizona. The courts consider this a deeply serious issue, and you must be fully prepared before dealing with the Arizona court.

The child custody and relocation lawyers at The Sampair Group are fully versed and experienced in handling this critical and emotional legal issue. Their knowledge of the subject and possible ramifications to your child custody will be invaluable in helping you move on with your life.

Call them at (602) 975-3361, and they will diligently, thoroughly, and empathetically guide you through this possibly harrowing process.