Unless your parenting plan specifies otherwise, your child may not relocate without permission of the other parent or the court. There is no defined number of miles you can move without permission, but the general rule of thumb is that you cannot move out of state or far enough away that it would significantly impact the current parenting time schedule without a motion to relocate.
Technically speaking, the courts cannot order any parent not to relocate. So the real question at issue is whether the child can relocate. The primary residential parent is always free to relocate and to leave the minor child behind if they so choose.
There is a case in Colorado which holds that at an initial parental responsibilities determination, each parent may choose where they want to live and the court must accept that decision and fashion a parenting plan with that in mind. If you already have a parenting plan in place and the other party is not in agreement to relocate the child, you must file a motion to relocate and have a hearing on the issue.
When considering a motion for relocation, the court takes into account the following factors:
1. The reasons why the party wishes to relocate with the child;
2. The reasons why the opposing party is objecting to the proposed relocation;
3. The history and quality of each party’s relationship with the child since any previous
parenting time order;
4. The educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and at the proposed new location.
5. The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
6. Any advantages of the child remaining with the primary caregiver;
7. The anticipated impact of the move on the child;
8. Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable parenting time schedule if the change requested is permitted; and
9. Any other relevant factors bearing on the best interests of the child.
Things to keep in mind with a motion to relocate are:
1.It is more difficult for a younger child to have a meaningful long distance relationship and therefore, the younger your child is, the less likely it is that a motion to relocate is going to be successful.
2.The more definite your plan is, the more likely you are to be successful. Vaguely wanting to attend college is not a plan. Having spoken with an admissions officer and arranged financial aid at a specific college with a specific degree in mind is a plan.
Motions to relocate may take several months. If you feel that you may be relocating, please bring this up as early as possible.