When family law judges in Arizona issue child custody orders, they base their decisions on what they believe is in the best interests of the child. There was a time when mothers were awarded primary custody and fathers were granted visitation rights, but joint custody arrangements are now preferred because studies have shown that children fare much better when they spend time with both of their parents. This is why a parent who plans to relocate must notify the other parent before they move. If the other parent objects to the move, a judge will determine whether or not the relocation is in the best interests of the child.
Custodial parents in Arizona who are under child custody orders must notify the other parent by certified mail at least 45 days before they move to another state or to an address within Arizona that is more than 100 miles from their current address. After being notified about a proposed child relocation, the other parent has 30 days to petition the court to object to the move.
When the other parent petitions the court to prevent a child relocation, the presiding judge is tasked with determining whether or not the proposed move is in the child’s best interests. The burden of proof in these situations is placed on the parent who wishes to relocate. Before making these decisions, judges consider the motives of the relocating parent, how the relocation will affect the child’s quality of life and whether the proposed move will give the other parent a realistic opportunity to spend time with the child.
The best interests of the child
Child custody orders are only modified in Arizona when the changes are in the best interests of the child. Arizona parents who are subject to child custody orders are permitted to relocate, but they must notify the other parent before they move. If the other parent objects to the relocation, a judge will determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.