Can one co-parent move out of Colorado with their children?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | Child Custody & Support |

Married couples who divorce and unmarried parents who separate typically need to negotiate co-parenting arrangements. In Colorado, the courts expect parents to share both parental rights and responsibilities. Parents usually have a share of parenting time with the children and a degree of decision-making authority. They also usually have a responsibility to meet the children’s needs on a daily basis and provide financial support in some cases.

Co-parents in Colorado typically need to closely follow their parenting plan. However, the terms that they have established may not be particularly useful if family circumstances change. For example, if one parent decides to move out of Colorado, the other likely could not enjoy the same frequency of parenting time they currently have. Can someone subject to a Colorado custody order move away with their children?

Relocations require custody modifications

Someone subject to a custody order in Colorado has to abide by that order. Their obligations usually include cooperation with the other parent and adherence to the terms within the order. Unless people have already established clear terms allowing for relocation in certain circumstances, the parent proposing the move needs to receive permission ahead of time.

To do so, they must notify the courts and their co-parent about the proposed move. Their co-parent might agree and help them with an uncontested custody modification. The other parent might also dispute the necessity of the move and worry about the impact it could have on their parental rights.

In that second scenario, the matter would likely end up in front of a Colorado family law judge. A judge hearing a contested relocation case in Colorado would prioritize the best interests of the children, just like a judge hearing a contested initial custody case.

Depending on the age of the children, the distance of the move and the intent behind the relocation, a judge might either approve someone’s request to move away with their children or deny the request because it appears to be an attempt at parental alienation. Parents hoping to move or to prevent a relocation often need to take great care to gather proper evidence and present their situation appropriately to the courts.

Understanding the rules that apply when changing parenting arrangements may help those concerned about a potentially major shift in their current parenting plan.