Co-parenting when there is a child custody order can be challenging. In addition to handling your day-to-day obligations, you and your child’s other parent must keep in contact with each other and share parenting responsibilities based on a contract, i.e., the child custody agreement (or court orders). While this is far from ideal, it can be manageable with the right plan and legal team. Plus, having everything written out ahead of time can save you the stress of having to negotiate an issue the moment it arises.
One of the biggest challenges of co-parenting in this new normal is if you want to move and bring your child with you. If the move means you will be far from your child’s other parent, thus impeding the co-parenting agreement, you must first ask approval from the other parent. If they disagree, you must then ask the Colorado court for permission. In contested relocation situations, the court conducts a relocation hearing to determine the purpose of the move, the surrounding details, and the possible impact it may have on the child and their relationship with the other parent.
Attending a relocation request hearing can be stressful. In this post, we discuss common reasons for the denial of a child custody relocation request and what happens next. With over 70 combined years of experience, the attorneys at Plog & Stein P.C. have dedicated their time and resources to helping individuals and navigate nuanced and often contentious family law matters. Our experienced attorneys are ready to advocate for you at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Common Reasons for a Denial of a Child Custody Relocation Request
Colorado courts consider various factors when determining whether to grant a child custody relocation request. Because they engage in a multifaceted decision-making process, there are a variety of reasons a court might grant or deny a request. Here, we explore a few reasons why the court might deny a relocation request.
If you are preparing for a child custody relocation hearing, our attorneys can help. We understand this is a difficult and confusing time for you. We are here to demystify the process and advocate for your and your child’s best interests. Our team is familiar with how courts determine whether to grant a relocation request, and we can help you follow the proper procedures when requesting a relocation.
The Party Didn’t Follow the Proper Procedure to Plan Relocation
Colorado’s child custody relocation laws require that the party seek permission before relocating with the child if a child custody agreement is in place. The court might deny or delay the request if the party requesting a relocation did not provide the other parent with sufficient notice and information before making a request. Further, if the party who is asking to relocate is not cooperating with the court or the other party, the court might deny the request. For example, if the party won’t has a history of violating parenting time orders or providing information regarding the move, the court may not be willing to allow the relocation to happen. Courts outcomes are generally not favorable for parents who are unable to demonstrate an ability to co-parent or follow orders.
The Parental Relocation Isn’t In the Best Interests of the Child
Colorado, like other states, follows the best interests of the child standard when making decisions about children. The courts prioritize the physical and mental health and safety of the children above all else, considering factors such as:
- Reports of domestic violence or suspected domestic violence in the home;
- The physical and mental health of the parents, children, and anyone else living in the home;
- The parents’ abilities to prioritize the needs of the children above their own;
- The level of involvement the parents have had with the children;
- The preferences of the children in terms of where they live and other matters, considering each child’s age and maturity level; and
- The children’s level of adjustment to their schools, community, and home life.
If the court determines that the move would have an unduly adverse impact on the child that outweighs the benefits of the move, then the court may deny the relocation request.
For example, let’s say the child has a history of severe anxiety and depression exacerbated by the divorce. Their mood and sense of security have improved in the past year. They have a healthy and established friend group and participate in extracurricular activities. The proposed move would mean that they must change schools and wouldn’t be able to keep up with their friends easily. The court may review the facts and determine that the detrimental impact the move may have on the child outweighs the potential positive effects.
The Reasons for the Move Don’t Justify the Impact on the Child
Applying a similar analysis to the one discussed above, the court may determine the reasons for the move don’t justify the impact on the child. If the parent proposes the out-of-state move to be closer to their new paramour, the court is less likely to grant the move than if it is for other reasons. If the parent is moving in with a new spouse or moving to accept a higher-paying job, or perhaps be closer to a familial support network, the court may be more inclined to grant the relocation request.
What Happens If a Child Custody Relocation Request Is Denied?
If the court denies a child custody relocation request, the party who submitted the request cannot relocate with the child. They may decide to proceed with the move, which they can do as long as they do not take the child with them. In that case, you and the other party will need to modify the custody agreement to reflect a realistic plan, given the other parent’s new location. If the court denied your child custody relocation request, you might be able to appeal the decision, though absent glaring and significant error, appeals regarding parenting time issues are generally not going to be successful due to the abundant discretion conferred upon the judge.
Plog & Stein P.C.—Fierce Family Law Attorneys You Can Trust
If you are preparing for a relocation hearing, don’t go it alone. Our law firm focuses exclusively on family law, meaning we have a wealth of knowledge and experience that is battle-tested and dependable. We approach each case with fresh eyes because we understand that every situation is unique. Contact us today to find out how we can help you navigate your parental relocation request and hearing.