Can my child’s other parent move out of state?

Whether you share custody with your child’s other parent or enjoy visitation with your children, time spent together in person is important to your relationship. What happens when the parent with joint or sole custody wants to move out of state with the kids? 

You may have legal recourse if your co-parent wants to take your children out of Colorado after a divorce. 

The written notice requirement 

Neither parent may leave the state with the children when a custody order is pending. Once the court has issued a final custody order, a custodial parent must give the other parent written notice of any planned move, either within the state or outside Colorado. This communication must include the proposed new address, the reason for the move and a revised parenting time schedule that accounts for the expanded distance. 

If your child’s other parent notifies you of a planned move, you can file a response to the request with the court. The clerk will schedule a hearing at which both parents can present evidence and let the judge decide whether to approve or deny the move. 

The best interest determination 

The judge will only allow a relocation that serves the child’s best interest. He or she will consider these factors: 

  • The amount of parenting time each parent will receive after the divorce 
  • The reasons both for the relocation and for the other parent’s objection 
  • The potential impact of the move on the child’s well-being, either positive or negative 
  • The relationship each parent currently shares with the child 
  • The benefits of maintaining the current custody arrangement 
  • The presence of extended family in the new community and the current community 
  • Other relevant factors specific to your case 

While Colorado once gave the parent with primary custody the right to make relocation decisions independently, you now have the right to contest a significant move even if you are not the custodial parent. The state allows either parent to request a custody modification in the face of significantly changed circumstances.