Divorce & Relocation In Arizona

by Elizabeth Rayne
Generally, you must notify your ex-spouse before moving with children.

Generally, you must notify your ex-spouse before moving with children.

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Depending on where you are in the divorce process, you must consider residency requirements as well as the needs of your children before relocating out of Arizona. Arizona's laws provide that you must give notice before moving with children, and the court may only allow you to relocate if doing so is in your child's best interest.

Residency Requirements

If you have recently relocated to Arizona, you must consider the residency requirements of the state before filing for divorce. You may only file for divorce in Arizona if either you or your spouse have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to submitting your petition for divorce. You may file for divorce in the county where you currently live. However, if you do not have children, you are generally free to relocate after you file for divorce.

Preliminary Injunction

After filing for divorce in Arizona, the court will issue an immediate preliminary injunction, which prohibits either spouse from interfering with marital property or relocating with the children while the divorce is pending. The only way a parent may move a child out of the county is with written permission from the other parent or permission from the court. If you move without permission, you could be found in contempt of court, which may lead to fines or imprisonment.

Post-Divorce Relocation with Children

Whether parents have joint custody or one parent has sole custody while the other parent has visitation rights, both parents must give written notice before moving out of the state or more than 100 miles. The notice must be delivered by certified mail at least 60 days prior to the move. After receiving notice, the other parent has 30 days to object to the relocation by filing an objection with the court. If an objection is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether or not the moving parent should be allowed to move with the child. While the decision is pending, the parent may temporarily move with the child, only if necessary for health, safety or job security reasons and that parent either has sole legal custody of the child or joint legal custody and is the child's primary residential parent; if both parents share legal and physical custody of the child, the parent may temporarily move with the child only with the permission of the other parent pursuant to a written agreement.

Relocation Considerations

If a parent objects to relocation, the court will consider a number of factors to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to relocate. The parent who wants to move has the burden of proving that it would be best for the child. The court will consider the reasons for moving, whether the parents can still follow the parenting plan schedule, if both parents will still have opportunities to spend time with the child, and the effects the move may have on the child's physical and mental development. The court, in its discretion, may modify the parenting schedule or custody arrangement to ensure both parents have an opportunity to spend time with the child.