Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to. It depends in part on what your arrangements for legal decision making and parenting time are. Ultimately, the court will decide whether the relocation is in the children’s best interest.
Let’s assume you share legal decision-making authority and have roughly equal parenting time. In those circumstances, your ex is supposed to provide you with 45 days’ notice before moving your children out of state or more than 100 miles away, even if that is still in Arizona. That said, a court can waive this requirement if it finds good cause to do so.
Once you have received the 45 days’ notice that your ex is planning to move away, you have 30 days to petition the court to prevent the move. Once you have filed this petition, a hearing will be held to determine how the move would affect your legal decision-making authority and parenting time, and whether the move is in the children’s best interest.
At the hearing, your ex has the burden of proving that the move is in the children’s best interest, but you should be prepared with an argument for why it would not be.
Factors the court will consider
When the court weighs whether to allow the move, it will consider any factors it deems relevant to the determination of the children’s best interest. However, courts are required to consider general factors the legislature considers relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being, along with several factors specific to relocation, including:
- Whether the relocation, or opposition to the relocation, is in good faith or is intended to frustrate the relationship between the child and the other parent
- How the move would generally affect the life of the parents and child
- How likely it is that your ex will comply with the parenting time order
- Whether the relocation allows a realistic opportunity for each parent to have parenting time
- How moving, or not moving, will affect the physical, emotional and developmental needs of the child
- The validity of the reasons given for the move, the motives of the parents, and the extent to which either parent may be seeking increased child support
- The effect of the move of the child’s stability
What about military families?
If your ex is a military service member and the relocation is due to a deployment or mobilization, you should know that Arizona law does not consider this alone to be a reason for a change in your parenting orders. However, you still have the right to oppose a move away, if you believe the move would not be in your children’s best interest.