Can a Judge Keep a Child From Leaving the State After a Divorce in Colorado?

By Mike Broemmel

Colorado law grants significant leeway to a divorced parent who wants to leave the state with the children. Under Colorado law, a parent with primary custody of minor children generally can move out of state with them. The non-custodial parent must take action to prevent the primary caretaker from leaving the state with the children. This involves filing a motion with the court seeking an order preventing removal of the children from Colorado. In many other states, an opposite process exists: the parent who wants to leave a state with the children must obtain court approval.

Objection by Non-custodial Parent

When a non-custodial parent learns of the custodial parent's intention to leave the state with the children, three options exist: do nothing to stop the removal, move to the other state or seek a court order stopping the move. If you choose to file a motion requesting the court to block the move, a hearing is held to consider whether or not the proposed relocation should be blocked by the court.

Court's Discretion to Stop Move

In Colorado, the judge possesses discretion to block the move. He considers a number of factors laid out in Colorado law in deciding whether to prevent the custodial parent from leaving the state. These factors include the reasons why the custodial parent wants to leave the state and the reasons why the other parent wants to prevent the move. The court also looks at the potential effect of the move on the children and whether a reasonable parenting time schedule can be created for the non-custodial parent remaining in Colorado.

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Burden of Proof

The parent opposing the move bears the burden of proof of demonstrating to the court why the removal should not be allowed. For example, the non-custodial parent must demonstrate that fashioning a reasonable parenting time schedule is impossible if the move is allowed. This might be the case, for example, if the custodial parent plans to move a great distance from Colorado.

Automatic Injunction

The only time an automatic injunction is in place preventing moving children from Colorado is when a divorce case is ongoing. The automatic injunction goes into effect the moment the divorce petition is filed. The injunction remains in effect until the judge lifts the order or the case ends with the granting of a divorce decree.

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How to Divorce in California & Leave the State With Children

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California Laws on Parent Relocation

When parents share parental responsibility, the state of California prevents the custodial parent from relocating with a child without either the consent of the non-custodial parent or a court order. This restriction may make it difficult for the custodial parent to take that dream job in another state. However, the prohibition's purpose is to protect the relationship between the child and non-custodial parent by ensuring the non-custodial parent does not suddenly become unable to see his child.

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.

If You Get Divorced in Georgia Can You Move to a Different State With Your Kids?

Before 2003, Georgia was one of the more lenient states when allowing a custodial parent to move away or relocate with her children post-divorce. The courts put the burden of proof on the non-custodial parent to convince a judge that such a move would actually be harmful to the children, and this could be difficult to establish. The Georgia Supreme Court reversed this position in the case of Bodne v. Bodne in 2003. At the time of publication, the custodial parent has the burden of proof to establish that a move would improve the children’s lives more than the separation from their other parent would harm them.

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