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How do a child’s best interests impact a parental relocation?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2021 | Child Custody

There are many issues that will sow discord in a divorce and family law case in Arizona. This is true even after the couple has parted ways and the divorce is complete. Child custody, parenting time and other challenges frequently arise. One that frequently becomes acrimonious is if a custodial parent wants to relocate with the child. As with any child-related matter in a family law case, the child’s best interests will take precedence. This is especially true with a proposed relocation with the child. From the viewpoint of the parent who wants to move or the parent who is in opposition to it, having professional advice is imperative.

Understanding the law for relocation and the child’s best interests

With custody and parenting time, the court will assess the child’s best interests. That will include the parent-child relationship, extended family, how the child is adapting to new environments, the child’s maturity to express preferences, health issues, and maintaining a healthy relationship with the other parent. With relocation, it extends beyond these fundamental considerations.

The relocation itself must be done in good faith and not to interfere with the other parent seeing the child. The court will make that determination. Often, the child will be in a better situation with the move. However, that must be assessed. Parenting time can be made more difficult after relocation and the custodial parent will be expected to continue to adhere to the order. It must be evaluated whether the relocation will interfere with parenting time for each parent and having consistent visitation after the move. While parents might have a noble and justifiable reason for the move, there is a chance that the motives are questionable. Finally, the child’s stability could be damaged by the move.

Dealing with a proposed relocation may require legal assistance

Regardless of the perspective of the possible relocation, it is wise to have professional guidance to navigate this complex area of family law. The proposed relocation will inevitably spark acrimony, especially if it is a great distance from where the non-custodial parent resides. Parenting time could be made more complicated and other disagreements can arise. The child’s best interests are paramount and to be fully protected, having legal guidance can be crucial from the beginning.