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Denver Divorce Relocation

While a divorce separates two people from one another in most ways, parents who share the responsibility of children remain connected in important legal ways. Depending on the agreements the parties came to during the divorce, ex-spouses may need to notify each other of important life decisions that impact the child. This includes when one party wants to move.

Whether you’re the party wanting to move or you’re trying to stop your ex-spouse from leaving town, it’s important to go into this fight with knowledge and an experienced team by your side. Be sure to know where Colorado law stands, how courts make these decisions, and when to contact a Denver family lawyer for help. It may be important to contact an attorney well before the intended relocation to strategize what you do even before the Court becomes involved. The timing of the move and the timing of the filing are also significant items that an attorney can help you strategize.

Of course, relocation cases can occur between two non-married people who share children as well. The same rules will apply whether this is post-divorce or just a custody case.

What is a “Removal from Colorado”

When one parent wants to move away from Colorado with his or her children, this parent is seeking “removal from Colorado.” The legal proceedings for such a move depend primarily on two factors:

  • What stage of divorce and custody proceedings the family is in
  • How far the parent wants to move with the child
  • The current parenting time arrangement

For example, when a divorce or legal separation is pending, no parent can remove the child from Colorado for any length of time without either written permission from the other parent or court order. Until the separation or divorce is final, even removal from Colorado for vacation must go through an approval process. 

How To Address Relocating in Colorado Court

If you are still in the initial phase of the custody hearing and know that you intend to leave Colorado, you must tell the court. The courts can then devise a custody plan that acknowledges the places in which both parents intend to live. However, if an initial custody agreement is already in place and you want to remove a child from Colorado, you must get the court to change the custody agreement to suit the needs of both parents and the child as best as possible. 

Courts cannot stop parents from leaving Colorado. However, if the parent intends to take the child or children along, the courts must be involved in that decision. Whether you’re the parent moving away or you want the children to stay in Colorado with you, you should expect some pushback from your ex-spouse. An experienced, specialized family lawyer can help you navigate these complex family laws.

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Denver Divorce Relocation

Relocation for Parents and Children

Like in all states, Colorado family law is complicated and ever-changing. Many fundamental laws may come into play during your relocation case. However, there are two Colorado statutes that all parents in these situations should know:
1. C.R.S. 14-10-129(1)(a)(II): This law mandates that courts must consider the best interest of the child when reviewing any relocation cases that would lead to “substantial changes.” Furthermore, it means that the parent who wishes to make such a move must provide written notification to the other parent “as soon as practicable.”

2. C.R.S. 14-10-129(2)(c): Courts must review all relevant factors when considering whether the child can relocate. This can include each parent’s history of involvement with the child, reasons why the child would benefit from living with either parent and the child’s best interest.

These two laws govern much of how relocation cases play out in the courts. If you’re the parent who wants to leave Colorado, you should be sure to provide written notification as soon as you make this plan. The written notification must include information such as:

  • Where you intend to move

  • What you propose for the visitation amendment

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It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the written notification and send it through certified mail. This helps prove that you have met the burden in the law. If you’re the other parent in this equation, you must quickly decide whether the proposed visitation changes work for you.

How do Courts Determine a Divorce Relocation Case

If parents cannot decide on the relocation of a child or the terms of visitation, the case will move to court. When this happens, both sides will present their reasons for what they wish to happen. Then, the court must make a decision. 

A recent case in the Colorado Supreme Court determined that a court cannot prohibit an adult from leaving Colorado, particularly within the initial custody stages. However, courts can decide on the terms of a custody agreement if one parent moves. Many important factors go into making this decision, including:

  • Neither parent is presumed to be in favor, even if one parent is currently the primary caregiver
  • No presumption that parents living close to one another are favorable
  • The parent trying to stop the removal has the burden of proof
  • The impact on the child’s education
  • The emotional effect of moving
  • Previous relationships between the parents and child, including child support payments
  • The reasoning behind the relocation
  • The possibilities for a new visitation schedule

Ultimately, the most crucial factor in the decision is a legal standard called “the best interest of the child.” Because this standard is open to significant interpretation, it’s essential to have experienced attorneys on your side. 

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Family Law Attorney in Denver

When it’s up to the court to decide on your child’s future, you need to pull out all the stops. The Denver family lawyers at Colorado Legal Group can help. 

Call Colorado Legal Group at 720.594.7360 or get started with a free case evaluation.

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