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.
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.
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.