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Can I Move to Another State with my Children?

Securing approval to relocate out of state with your child in a joint-custody arrangement necessitates seeking permission from a judge, underscoring the importance of legal clearance in such matters. Neglecting this crucial step may lead to significant repercussions. To initiate the process of moving to another state with your child, start by informing the other parent through a formal, written notice, ensuring transparency and adhering to legal protocols for a smoother transition.

To understand Colorado’s child custody laws when moving out of state, speak with an attorney at Plog & Stein to better understand your rights and responsibilities.

Stephen Plog was amazing to work with. Fantastic communications, highly knowledgeable and honestly cares about his clients. A true pinnacle of his industry that other lawyers should aspire to be.
Erik Philips
Erik Philips
Stephen Plog is the attorney I used to draft my post nuptial agreement and assisted me in preparation of filing divorce paperwork. Throughout both processes, he provided me with reassurance and support. Very fair in pricing and went above and beyond in my opinion. Thank you Plog and Stein.
Nova Utzinger
Nova Utzinger
My issue was paperwork and advice. I was pressed for time and even between the holidays, I was able to get in and talk to Stephen Plog that same day. He made it happen. After explaining what I needed, he was able to quickly get me the necessary documents and I was able to move forward immediately. Very friendly, honest, informative, trustworthy. As is the case for most of us, I hope I never need a family law attorney again. If I do, this is where I’m coming.
Rob Forbes
Rob Forbes
Stephen and his firm came highly recommended. He had looked over my divorce and gave me an honest recommendation and advice. He explained things simply enough for me to fully understand everything. something that was much needed when going through a stressful divorce. I would recommend him to anyone needing help. You won’t be disappointed.
Sean Smith
Sean Smith
If you are going through a divorce I would highly recommend this law firm. They did an amazing job at answering all my questions and helping me relax during very stressful moments in the process. They have me a peace of mind that everything would be ok.
Andrea Jackson
Andrea Jackson
Sarah McCain was my attorney for my legal separation. She was actually my second attorney. I found her AFTER I had a traumatic experience with a predatory attorney that was trying to take advantage of me. I have Autism and was already traumatized by the whole experience of the separation. Sarah was SO KIND, she absolutely took my state of mind into consideration. She explained everything clearly and made sure I understood. She made sure I felt things were fair and she really worked hard for me. I felt so well taken care of with Sarah on my side. Thank you for helping me get through this very hard time in my life Sarah!
Loopy Llama
Loopy Llama

Legal Considerations for Moving Out of State with Your Child

If you are considering moving from Colorado with your children there are various statutes and relevant case law which may apply, depending on your situation and the facts at hand. If there is no divorce or custody case pending it is not “illegal” to move with your children.

However, for the 6 months following your departure Colorado will still maintain jurisdiction over your children for “parental responsibility” (child custody) purposes. Thus, the other parent will be able to file a case regarding custody during that time.

Leaving Colorado With Your Child Without Permission

If you leave without permission, he or she may also file an emergency motion with the court seeking relief under the “abduction prevention measures” statute set forth in C.R.S. 14-13.5-101. Presuming the other parent acts quickly after you leave and absent provable abuse or other dire circumstances, judges will often order people to bring the children back to Colorado while the case is pending.

Once a divorce or custody case is filed, there is an automatic, statutory injunction in place which indicates neither party may remove the children from Colorado while the case is pending unless there is permission or a court order.

Pre-Final Orders

If your case is pre-final orders and you are wanting the court to rule upon whether you can move out of state, with the kids, as part of the final resolution, you will need to make sure to overtly alert the court and the other side that this will be an issue to be resolved, whether through settlement or a court hearing. For pre-final order cases, the legal analysis the court will be required to employ is set forth in a case called Spahmer v. Gullette, 113 P. 3d 158 (2005).

Pursuant to the Spahmer decision, the court’s analysis will essentially entail making a best interest standard assessment of which parent the children will be better of living in and allocating parenting time from there.

Also, this analysis will entail the court factoring where each parent wishes to live and proceeding as such. The standard for being able to move pre-final orders is easier than once orders are entered, a fact which should be considered before making decisions on how to proceed with your case.

When Parenting Time Orders Have Already Been Entered

In cases in which parenting time and decision-making orders have already been entered and in which the primary residential parent, or equal time parent, wishes to relocate with the children out of Colorado, the analysis will be driven based on C.R.S. 14-10-129(2)(c). Pursuant to statute, there are various factors tied into the proposed move which the court must look at, all tied into the best interest of the child.

This might include:

  • Reason for the move,
  • New location,
  • Support system in each location,
  • Educational opportunities for the child in the new location,
  • What visitation will be for the parent left behind, and more.

The general belief among child custody attorneys in Denver is that relocation requests can be tough in that courts are hesitant to remove one parent from the child’s life by authorizing the move. Each case is different and your facts and circumstances will truly matter.

One should keep in mind that when a motion to relocate from Colorado, or in a geographically significant manner, is filed the non-primary parent has the right to seek primary residential custody under a “best interest” standard, as opposed to the general “endangerment” standard required to change physical custody from the primary parent.

Considering Relocating with Your Child? Contact Plog & Stein P.C.

If you are considering moving from Colorado with your child, or perhaps the other parent has already done so, contacting a Denver family law attorney can be invaluable when it comes time to make decisions and effectively asserting your rights. The experienced child custody attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. are available to provide thorough case analysis and to meet all of your family law needs.

Author Photo

Stephen Plog, co-founder of Plog & Stein, P.C. in 1999, is a dedicated family law attorney with almost two decades of expertise in Denver. Focused exclusively on family law since 2001, he excels in both intricate legal writing and courtroom litigation, having navigated cases in all Denver metropolitan area District Courts. Steve’s comprehensive background, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law, underscores his commitment to providing insightful and personalized representation in family law matters.