If there is a custody order or custody agreement in place that gives both parents rights to the children, the parent seeking to relocate with the children must give the other parent written notice at least 60 days in advance of the anticipated custody relocation date. It is important to ensure that notice complies with the appropriate statutory and procedural rules, as sanctions could be imposed by the Court if relocation occurs with insufficient notice.
Within 30 days of receiving notice of the intended custody relocation, the nonmoving parent may petition the Court to prevent the relocation of the children. The parent seeking to relocate with the children also has the right to petition the Court for a hearing to determine the appropriateness of the custody relocation. Upon either parent’s request, the Court will set a hearing to determine if the custody relocation is in the children’s best interests. The party seeking to relocate has the burden of proving to the Court that the custody relocation is in the children’s best interests. In determining the children’s best interests, the Court will consider all relevant factors, the custody factors under A.R.S. § 25-403, and the factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-408, the relocation statute. The full text of A.R.S. § 25-408 is set forth below.
1. The factors prescribed under section 25 403.
2. Whether the relocation is being made or opposed in good faith and not to interfere with or to frustrate the relationship between the child and the other parent or the other parent's right of access to the child.
3. The prospective advantage of the move for improving the general quality of life for the custodial parent or for the child.
4. The likelihood that the parent with whom the child will reside after the relocation will comply with parenting time orders.
5. Whether the relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for parenting time with each parent.
6. The extent to which moving or not moving will affect the emotional, physical or developmental needs of the child.
7. The motives of the parents and the validity of the reasons given for moving or opposing the move including the extent to which either parent may intend to gain a financial advantage regarding continuing child support obligations.
8. The potential effect of relocation on the child's stability. J. The court shall assess attorney fees and court costs against either parent if the court finds that the parent has unreasonably denied, restricted or interfered with court ordered parenting time.
K. Pursuant to section 25-403.06, the noncustodial parent is entitled to have access to documents and other information about the child unless the court finds that access would endanger seriously the child's or the custodial parent's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
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