Who decides if parents can move with children after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Child Custody & Visitation |

Parents typically share parental rights and responsibilities after a Colorado divorce. They each get to spend a certain amount of time with the children and have a say in the major decisions about their daily lives. In most cases, parents need to maintain some degree of proximity to one another if they want to share custody equally.

Living near one another makes frequent custody exchanges less inconvenient. However, doing so is not always a realistic goal. One parent may have family in Wyoming or a job offer in Wisconsin. If they have more parenting time, they might assume that they can relocate with the children. Is this true? Can one parent move away when subject to a court order splitting their parental rights and responsibilities with another parent?

Colorado requires consent or court approval

Any move could increase the geographic distance between the children and one of their parents. That increased distance could impact the ability of the parent to spend time with their children. Therefore, any significant move that would change the primary residence of the children typically requires pre-approval.

Parents can sometimes cooperate with one another. The other parent may recognize that the move is necessary because it relates to someone’s employment or housing options. They could then cooperate to adjust the existing arrangements for their family to allow the relocation.

Other times, the other parent does not agree with the relocation request. They worry that it could harm their relationship with the children or prevent them from regularly enjoying time with them. If the other parent does not cooperate, then it may be necessary to take the matter back to family court.

A Colorado family law judge can review the situation carefully to determine whether the move is appropriate. They may approve a relocation request if they believe it would be in the best interests of the children. They can then modify the existing division of parental rights and responsibilities to reflect the new circumstances and how that may change the parenting schedule.

Understanding Colorado’s approach to parental relocations, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may benefit those hoping to move and those worried about losing touch with their children.