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Relocation Issues

If parties are entitled to joint legal decision-making (custody) or unsupervised parenting time and both parties reside in Arizona, at least sixty (60) days advanced written notice must be provided to the other parent before a parent may relocate the child outside the state or relocated the child more than 100 miles within the state.

The notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or pursuant to the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (service of process). The Court will sanction a parent who without good cause, does not apply with the notification requirement. That sanction will affect legal decision-making or parenting time only if the court determines same to be in the child’s best interests.

Within thirty (30) days after the notice is made, the non-moving parent can petition the court to prevent relocation. Once that time frame has expired, any petition to prevent relocation of the child may be granted only on a showing of good cause. The law does not prohibit a parent who is seeking to relocate the child from petitioning the court for a hearing, on notice to the other parent, to determine the appropriateness of a relocation that may adversely affect the other parent’s legal decision-making or parenting time rights.

Pending the determination by the court of a petition to prevent relocation, a parent with sole legal-decision making or a parent with joint legal decision making and primary residence of a child who is required by circumstance of health, safety, or employment of that parent or that parent’s spouse to relocate in less than sixty (60) days after written notice has been given to the other parent may temporarily relocate with the child.

A parent who shares joint legal decision-making and substantially equal parenting time and who is required by circumstances of health, safety, or employment of that parent or that parent’s spouse to to relocate in less than sixty (60) days after written notice has been given to the other parent may temporarily relocate with the child only if both parents execute a written agreement to permit relocation of the child.

The Court’s decision to allow the parent to relocate with the child must focus on the child’s best interests that burden is on the parent who is seeking to relocate the child.