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Post-divorce parental relocation: Good faith reasons to move

Moving gets difficult after divorce, at least when you have children with your ex. If you both have a right to see the kids under the court-ordered child custody arrangement, then moving may violate your ex's rights.

For instance, perhaps your ex has the right to see the kids for dinner twice during the week, along with their living with your ex every other weekend. If you both live in Greeley, that's not all that hard to coordinate. If you decide to move to Salt Lake City or Chicago, though, it becomes impossible. Even a closer move within Colorado -- moving to Denver or Boulder, for instance -- can make it far more difficult. If your ex does not drive or has limited funds, a move of almost any distance can prove problematic.

Since that move would then cut your ex out of the kids' lives, violating the court order, it may, therefore, be illegal for you to move. Yes, it sounds restrictive, and it often comes as a surprise to parents who are used to having far more freedom of movement. But you cannot intentionally violate your ex's rights or the court order, and that's what a move does.

Good faith reasons

With that in mind, you should know that you can often petition the court to get them to approve the move and set up a new child custody arrangement. You need to do this before you move, not after. You also need to show some good faith reasons for the move so that the court can see that you do not simply want to remove your ex from the children's lives against their will. Examples of these reasons include:

  • Moving so that you live closer to members of your own family, such as your parents, to give them a chance to help you take care of the children.
  • Moving so that you can find a new home or living situation that is more affordable if the cost of living in Greeley is higher than you can afford after the divorce.
  • Moving so that you can go to school -- or go back to school -- to advance your education.
  • Moving so that you can take a new job that was already offered to you; it's important to note that you typically cannot move just to look for that new job.

These are just a few examples, but they help to show you the types of reasons that the court is looking for when you petition them for relocation.

The legal process

As you can see, many aspects of your life become more complex after a divorce. Make sure you are well aware of how the legal process works and what steps you need to take.

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