Relocation After Divorce

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Relocation After Divorce

When one parent wishes to move out of state after a divorce, there are several steps that need to be taken. Since one of the prime responsibilities and concerns of the family courts is to establish and maintain children’s relationships with both parents after a divorce, relocation is a particularly challenging issue that can arise. Since the issue is access to the children, the following information addresses the situation created when the custodial parent is the party wanting to move. Utah courts require that the following procedure is followed whenever there is a proposed move of more than 150 miles from the non-custodial parent.

Before you move

It is critical to notify your ex-spouse at least 60 days prior to your plan to move. If your co-parenting relationship is acrimonious, you might need your Provo divorce lawyer to contact your ex-spouse or their attorney. At this point, either your ex will come back and give permission for you to relocate or give reasons that you should not. At that time, you can work with your ex and/or the attorneys can negotiate a new parenting plan with the appropriate adjustments made for parenting time.

As a general rule, the younger the ages of the children, the more tweaks need to be made into the parenting plan. Included in the new plan should be set times for the children to be with their non-custodial parent, such as school breaks, birthdays, holidays, etc., as well as the determination of the responsibility for the cost of travel and transporting the children. Some parents have found that it is easier to have the non-custodial parent come to the children when they are younger and split the cost of a room, etc. As children get older, they will be more suited to travel on their own. Parents may choose to meet in the middle and exchange the children then or purchase plane tickets for the children to travel to see the non-custodial parent.

Other considerations

Custodial parents need to make sure that since visits will be happening less frequently that their child’s noncustodial parent has access to them via phone, video chat, etc. Some families become quite creative in helping their ex-spouse feel like part of their children’s lives.

After the plan is made but before the move

Even if both parties agree to the conditions of the new parenting plan, a judge must approve the plan to make sure that both parents have adequate access planned to be involved in their children’s lives. This can be very stressful during the waiting time. At a hearing, the family court can make modifications of the proposed parenting plan or approve it as is.

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