Do you share custody of a minor child and are considering moving out of Colorado and bringing your child with you? Then you should be aware of the Colorado laws regarding the relocation of a minor and the effect relocation may have on such issues as child support and parental responsibility. At Cohen and Cohen we are familiar with relocation issues and can help you request or defend relocation actions or change your parenting plan.
Changes to Your Parenting Plan or Child Support
An order by the court to substantially change the geographic ties between the children and another party requires a new parenting plan and possibly changes to child support.
Your parenting plan contains the guidelines for sharing parenting time and responsibilities. Any changes to a parenting plan must be in the best interests of the child. The parties can agree or stipulate that the change is in the best interests of the child. If the change is not deemed to be in the best interests of the child, then the court may deny the request and even assess attorney fees to the party who sought the change.
In addition, child support may need to be recalculated. For example, if the amount of overnights per year the child spends with each parent changes due to the move. This is because changes in overnights may change the amount of resources or money required by each parent or guardian in order to support the child while they are with them. In order to determine any changes to child support your attorney will use the Colorado Guidelines Worksheet.i
Process to Approve Relocating Children
To initiate a relocation of the child you would need to file a Verified Motion or Stipulation to Relocate Minor Child(ren) Pursuant to 14-10-129(1)(a)(II), C.R.S. The motion could be agreed to by both parties, which would make it a stipulated motion or if the parties are not in agreement, then the party opposing the Motion will have 21 days to file a response.
Prior to filing a Motion the parent who desires to relocate must have notified the other party in writing of their desire to relocate the child. The written notification should include a request to relocate, the location where the parent plans to move, the reason for the relocation, and a proposed parenting plan.ii
The Court will look at the following factors in determining whether relocation to a new residence that substantially changes the child’s geographic ties is appropriate:iii
- The reasons why the party wishes to relocate with the child;
- The reasons why the opposing party is objecting to the proposed relocation;
- The history and quality of each party’s relationship with the child since any previous parenting time order;
- The educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
- The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
- Any advantages of the child remaining with the primary caregiver;
- The anticipated impact of the move on the child;
- Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable parenting time schedule if the change requested is permitted; and
- Any other relevant factors bearing on the best interests of the child.
In addition if there is concern over the child’s present environment, such as the environment endangers the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development, then the Court may determine the potential harm will outweigh any advantage of relocation and deny relocation.iv
Taking the Next Step to Relocate or Defend Against Relocation
The next step is to meet with a family law attorney at Cohen and Cohen to protect your interests, learn more about the process, and your options.
We Can Help You Protect Your Interests
If you need assistance in a matter involving relocation of children outside of Colorado, at Cohen and Cohen, we can help you make important legal decisions and will provide you with professional representation.
Speak to the Family Law Attorneys at Cohen and Cohen to see how our experience can help you.
To schedule an initial consultation to review your case with a Family Law Attorney at our convenient central Denver location call 303-933-4529.