Can you move with your children if you share custody?

With rare exceptions, most divorcing parents in Colorado will share parental responsibilities. Unmarried parents will also need to discuss how they can allocate parenting time and parental responsibilities for their children.

Most custody matters result in joint or shared parental responsibilities. As you start rebuilding your life and looking for new opportunities, you may want to leave the community where you lived while married and maybe even pursue a new job.

When you share parental responsibilities, you may have to defer or turn down certain opportunities. You may wonder if you can relocate with your children if you are in a shared custody situation in Colorado.

The distance determines the steps you need to take

In theory, you can take any necessary steps to support yourself and pursue the best possible life for your family. However, any changes you would make that would violate or alter your custody arrangements will require a hearing in family court.

Relocations that will affect the other parent’s ability to have parenting time with the children are subject to approval and review. Any out-of-state move will also likely be subject to scrutiny. If the other parent cooperates with you and agrees that the relocation would be beneficial for the children, then you can request a modification of your parenting plan together.

Otherwise, you will need to first submit formal notice to your ex and then to the court of your intention to move. At the relocation hearing, you will need to present evidence that the move would be in the best interests of the children. Nearby family members, local school districts and other opportunities for your children could all help convince the courts that the move would be beneficial for them.

If the courts do not agree with your relocation request, you may have to make a difficult choice. Do you move and accept a significant reduction in your parenting time, or do you remain in the area where you currently live?

The right preparation for your hearing and an understanding of how Colorado handles parenting matters like relocations can give you an edge in a contentious case. Educating yourself about what relocation requests require in a shared parental responsibilities arrangement will make moving on with your life a little bit simpler.