What are my legal rights to leave the state with my three children?

Question:

What are my legal rights to leave the state with my three children?

I have primary custody of my three children ages. We live in Arizona and I need to relocate to Kentucky for a better job. My ex-husband is against the move. He is in arrears with his child support and has never paid the full monthly amount since the divorce two years ago. I need to make this move, because it will mean a higher pay with benefits for my children.I need my parents to help with all of my monthly expenses, because he will not hold up his child support as ordered. What are my legal rights in order to leave the state?

Answer:

You need to give your ex 60 days written notice if you intend to relocate out of state. He has the right to file an objection to your relocation as well as a request to modify parenting time if your relocation would deny him his current parenting time.

ARS25-408 reads in part:

A. If by written agreement OR COURT ORDER both parents are entitled to joint legal decision-making (joint custody) or unsupervised parenting time (visitation) and both parents reside in the state, at least sixty days’ advance written notice shall be provided to the other parent before a parent may do either of the following:

1. Relocate the child outside the state.
2. Relocate the child more than one hundred miles within the state.

The language in the statute has recently changed.
1. “joint legal decision-making” means joint custody;
2. “unsupervised parenting time” means visitation that does not specifically require supervision;

So if he is entitled to ANY visitation (unsupervised parenting time) and lives in AZ, then you must give him 60 days written notice as prescribed in ARS25-408. He may then request a hearing barring you from removing the children, or asking that the children live with him.

Relocation Actions are difficult to win if the father spends time with the child in AZ.

I would suggest that before you give him the required 60 days notice, that you first meet with an experienced family law attorney to determine if it is even a good idea to try.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

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