Ordinarily, both parents have rights to parenting time and decision-making about their child’s education and upbringing. If the parents are divorced, it’s likely that they have formalized these rights in a child custody agreement. This is also true in many cases involving parents who were never married.
Working out a parenting plan can be long, challenging process, as it requires the parents negotiate the details of drop-off and pickup times, vacation schedules and so on. And the negotiation often continues after the ink is dry on the agreement, as the parents’ needs and their child’s needs change. For instance, if a parent gets a new job or a new work schedule, they may need to change some of the details of their parenting time schedule.
In some ways, a move to a new home is just another one of these life changes that necessitates making a change to a parenting schedule. But, if one parent plans to move a far distance with a child, this can have a great impact on the other parent’s rights. If the other parent objects to the move, they have the right to challenge it in court.
Relocation notice and possible hearing
Under Arizona law, a parent who wishes to relocate with their child to another state or more than 100 miles away must inform the other parent at least 45 days in advance.
If the other parent objects to the move, they have 30 days to petition the court to block the relocation.
After receiving a petition, the court holds a hearing asking for arguments for and against the move. The parent who wishes to relocate has the burden of proving that the move is in the child’s best interests.
When deciding whether to allow the move, the court considers a long list of factors to determine whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. It also considers whether the parents — both the one who wants to relocate and the one who opposes the move — are acting in good faith, and not out of a desire to interfere with the other parent’s rights.