No, it is not possible for a parent to move out of state without a custody agreement in Arizona. Courts in this state can decide whether a parent can relocate with their child(ren) by investigating if the move will harm the relationship they have with the parent who is not relocating. It is typical for one parent to move out of state following a divorce. This will undoubtedly have a significant impact on custodial issues, though. A judge will look over many different issues to figure out what type of custodial arrangements need to be made.
Arizona Child Custody Laws
The interests and wellbeing of the child is given top importance during any custody decision. These factors will be taken into consideration before relocating:
- Physical/mental health of each parent.
- Relationship the child(ren) have with each parent.
- Ability of each parent to provide stability.
- Is there any history of abuse or domestic violence with one or more parents?
- Adjustment required by the child to adapt to their new home/community.
Based on these factors, the judge will determine whether sole or joint custody should be granted. Parents are able to share legal custody even when one parent has lone custody of the child or children.
Relocation Rules For Parents In Arizona
Relocation is defined as a move out of state or within the state, as long as it is more than 100 miles away from the child’s current home. When parents share either legal or joint custody, the parent making the move has to give 45 days’ notice of said move. The parent who is not relocating can petition the court to prevent the relocation of the child or children. If the judge refuses to allow the relocation, the parent cannot move with the child or children but is free to move without them.
How Will A Judge Decide A Relocation Case?
The primary factor a judge will consider is how the move can have a negative impact on the child or children. Each side will be required to submit a statement of evidence for the judge to consider during the proceedings. The judge will then hold a hearing during which he/she will hear live testimony from each parent, relatives, friends, etc.
Judges will consider these factors:
- Reasons for the relocation.
- Is the move designed to limit the other parent’s visitation?
- Will the child or children’s quality of life improve following relocation?
- Relationship of the child and children with each parent.
- Impact of one parent having less time and ability to have visitation time.
- Home/community adjustment of the child or children.
- If the child or children is mature enough to make a decision, what is their preference?
The burden of proof is solely on the parent of the child or children to establish that the move is in their best interests. While courts do acknowledge the right of each parent to further their career and understand travel may be included, it has to be measured against the other parent’s right to sustain a meaningful relationship with the child or children.
Source: “Child Custody and Relocation Laws in Arizona” DivorceNet https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-custody-and-relocation-laws-arizona.html.
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