Relocation of children after divorce in Colorado

Moving with children that are parented by divorced parents can be difficult. State laws may require specific procedures be followed before granting approval for a relocation.

When parents with children divorce in Colorado, each parent receives a set of parental responsibilities. This term is defined by the Colorado Judicial State Branch to include both parenting time and the decision-making responsibilities that come with parenting. In some situations, the division of these responsibilities can shift. This is particularly true when the parent that the child or children lives with considers making a large move.

Whether the relocation is for employment, to be near other family members or for other reasons, certain procedures need to be followed before the parent and children can make the move. Having a basic understanding of state law can help ease the process.

Colorado state law and relocation

The Colorado Foundation for Families notes that precedent case law on the subject of relocation with children after divorce is complex. Family law is evolving, and the law that governs this area often changes. Current applicable law includes:

  • C.R.S. 14-10-129(1)(a)(II). This law essentially states that the court will review the best interests of the child when considering any move that would result in "substantial changes" to the geographic ties between the child and other parent. In order to make this move, the relocating parent must inform the other parent of the relocation with a written notice "as soon as practicable". In addition to the proposed location, this written notice should also include the reason for the relocation and proposed revisions to the parenting time plan.
  • C.R.S. 14-10-129(2)(c). When taking a proposed relocation into consideration, the court shall review all relevant factors. This can include the reasons for the relocation, if opposition is present the reasons the other parent opposes the relocation, history of each party’s relationship with the child or children, educational opportunities in both the current and proposed location, advantages of having the child or children remain with the primary caregiver and any other relevant factors that the court deems have a bearing on the child’s best interests.

Precedent case law has established that each parent has an equal burden of demonstrating how their proposal is in the best interest of the child. The court generally does not automatically side with one parent.

Relocation and jurisdictional issues

These determinations are generally made in the child’s home state.

Additional jurisdictional issues can arise, particularly concerning child support payments. Generally, the child’s home state would have jurisdiction in these matters as well. The state that first makes the child support orders often retains jurisdiction until everyone leaves that state. Once this occurs, jurisdiction over these matters shifts to the state where the person responsible for making the child support payments resides.

Relocation, removal and the importance of legal counsel

Navigating these issues can be difficult. As a result, it is wise to contact an experience divorce and custody lawyer. This legal professional can guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and helping to better ensure a favorable outcome.