How to Leave the State of Utah With a Child Due to Divorce

By Elizabeth Rayne

Whether you are planning on leaving the state of Utah before or after filing for divorce, moving may complicate your custody arrangement. Divorced parents in Utah have a parenting plan that determines their custody arrangement and the parenting plan may include a provision that allows the custodial parent to move out of state with the children. However, you must follow the state's notification laws or risk being found in contempt of court.

Whether you are planning on leaving the state of Utah before or after filing for divorce, moving may complicate your custody arrangement. Divorced parents in Utah have a parenting plan that determines their custody arrangement and the parenting plan may include a provision that allows the custodial parent to move out of state with the children. However, you must follow the state's notification laws or risk being found in contempt of court.

Relocation Definition

Utah law defines "relocation" as moving 150 miles or more from the noncustodial parent; thus, you may move less than 150 miles with your child without getting permission from the court or notifying the other parent. However, if you have not yet filed for divorce, you may only file for divorce in Utah if you or your spouse is a resident of the state. Therefore, if you move out of state with your child and your spouse no longer lives in the state, it is unlikely you will be able to file for divorce in Utah.

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Parenting Plan Provisions

You may bring up your plans to move out of state during the divorce process. The parenting plan may include a provision that deals with what happens if and when you move out of state and include how the schedule will change after the move. Thus, the court may add such a provision to the plan if you advise the court of your intent to move during the divorce proceedings, or you may incorporate the provision into a marital settlement agreement.

Moving Before Divorce

Utah has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which makes it somewhat difficult for a parent to move a child out of state before filing for divorce. The UCCJEA provides that only the child's "home state" may make an initial custody determination, which is generally the state where the child has lived for at least six months. If you move with your child before filing for divorce, Utah may continue to have jurisdiction, meaning it is the only state that may make a custody determination until you and your child have lived in another state for at least six months or otherwise qualify for the new state's jurisdiction. In the meantime, your spouse would have the option to file for divorce and custody in Utah.

Relocation After Divorce

If your divorce is finalized and you are the custodial parent, you may move out of the state with your child, provided you follow the notification requirement. However, if the out of state move is less than 150 miles, you do not need to provide notification. For moves 150 miles or more, you must let the other parent know at least 60 days in advance. Either parent may ask the court to review the request to move and determine a new parent-time schedule. Utah courts will generally allow the parent to move, unless the other parent provides evidence that it is not in the child's best interest. To make this determination, the court will consider the reason for moving, additional costs and difficulties to each parent in exercising parent-time, economic resources of each parent, and any other factors the court deems relevant.

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The Tennessee Joint Custody Relocation Statute

References

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Child Custody & State Lines in Indiana

Your divorce court distributed custody of your children based on your family’s circumstances at the time of your divorce, but circumstances often change after divorce. If you are the custodial parent and plan to relocate, Indiana law, which changed in 2006, requires you to provide notice to your ex-spouse so he has an opportunity to object to the move.

Moving Out of State and Joint Custody

Joint custody is an arrangement in which both parents remain involved in their child's life. As a result, courts are more likely than ever before to grant either physical or legal joint custody. Moving out of state can complicate joint custody arrangements and a parent may need a court's permission for the move. Some parenting plans establish a specific procedure for the parent to follow.

Moving Out of State in the Middle of a Custody Battle in Texas

If you’re in the middle of active custody litigation, Texas courts won’t take it well if you suddenly move out of state with your children without permission. Section 153.001(a)(1) of the Texas code specifically cites that it is the state’s policy to ensure that children have frequent and loving contact with both parents. If you take steps to alter your children’s contact with their other parent by moving, it could conceivably cost you custody.

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