How Does Parental Relocation Affect Custody Rights?
Parenting plans and time sharing agreements can be tailored to protect the rights of a parent who moves or relocates to another area.
Issues pertaining to children are among the most emotional and potentially contentious dealt with in the family court. Whether you are going through a divorce or are involved in child custody proceedings with a partner to whom you were not married, you want to be sure your rights are protected. In cases where one of the parties is relocating, arrangements can be made to help ensure both parents continue to play an active role in the child’s life.
In disputes that have the potential to impact the care and wellbeing of children, the court’s primary concern is protecting the child’s best interests. In terms of child custody, parents are encouraged to develop parenting plans that allow them both to continue to remain active and involved in their child’s upbringing. Under the Colorado Statutes (CRS 14-10-124), guidelines to consider in making these plans include:
- The child’s age and any special needs they may have;
- The established relationship between each parent and the child;
- The parents’ ability to provide for and meet their child’s needs;
- The child’s current adjustment to their home, school, and community.
While joint custody proceedings in which parents share custody have been found to be beneficial, there are situations in which it is in the child’s best interests to remain with one parent while the other is afforded visitation. This is often the case in situations where a parent moves to another area or relocates out of state. The court is likely to allow the child to remain in the situation that causes the least amount of disruption in their lives, and in the custody of the parent who has previously acted as the child’s primary caregiver.
If you are the relocating parent and you have not previously acted as the primary caregiver, you can still be afforded the opportunity for extended visits which allow you time to bond with your child. Under guidelines in the Colorado Court Parenting Time Book, non-custodial parents may have rights to the following:
- Designated time on weekends and/or weekdays, when possible;
- Pre-arranged visits over holidays and other special occasions;
- Extended visits over school breaks.
In addition, as a parent you may also assert your rights in terms of making decisions that impact your child’s care, development, and overall wellbeing. Decision making authority in regards to medical care, education, religious upbringing, and social or recreational activities can be included as part of your child custody order.
As a parent, you have a unique and special bond with your child that needs to be protected. If you are involved in a custody dispute or have concerns over how plans to relocate could impact your relationship, Nicholas Family Law offers the professional legal guidance you need. Reach out today and contact our Denver family law attorney to schedule an appointment to discuss your case and how we can help.