When you first went through your divorce and established a parenting plan and custody arrangements with your ex-spouse, you had no intention of leaving the area.
Times have changed. You have every reason to believe that relocating is better for you and your child — but you have to get the court’s consent to modify your custody agreement and okay your move.
There are good ways and bad ways to approach the court about your plans
Like all other states, Arizona’s primary focus in a custody case is the “best interests of the child,” so you have to frame your argument for relocation around that idea.
In practical terms, for example, you may argue:
- You need to move because you have better economic opportunities or educational opportunities that will allow you to be a better provider for your child.
- Your move would allow you to be closer to extended family members that would assist with your childcare needs and benefit your child by strengthening their relationships.
- You are moving primarily for your child’s sake, which may be applicable if your child is either especially gifted or has special needs and they cannot get the appropriate education or medical care they deserve where you live now.
You will also need to keep in mind your co-parent’s rights and their relationship with your child. Be prepared to explain how you will help preserve that relationship, despite the distance — or why you believe that the distance won’t actually cause any problems.
Think about things like the child’s age, how vacations from school can be spent with the other parent and how technology can make virtual visits possible.
Work with an experienced attorney when you want a “move-away” modification. Child custody modifications can be deeply emotional and difficult to win when you want to move out of the area, so it’s important to start with a solid plan.