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Can a Utah Parent Relocate with their Children After a Divorce?

Relocate kids law

At Just Law, our Utah family law attorneys know everything changes after a divorce. Former spouses move on with their lives, putting their previous relationship behind them at their own pace. When they share children, they remain intertwined to ensure the kids’ best interests are the priority. As each parent’s needs change, so too may their preferred landscape. Often, this means moving to a different city inside Utah or leaving the state altogether for a fresh start.

Utah’s parental relocation laws govern situations where a parent with primary custody or joint custody of a child wants to move a significant distance away from their current residence after an established divorce or custody order.

These laws are in place to balance the custodial parent’s rights with the non-custodial parent’s rights to maintain a relationship with the child. The question becomes, can one parent move with the kids? The answer is it depends, and it is very complex.

Here are some key points to understand about Utah’s parental relocation laws.

What Steps Do Utah Parents Have to Take to Relocate with Their Kids After a Divorce?

Like most states, Utah does not allow custodial parents to pick up and move significant distances with their kids after a divorce without the other parent’s approval.

Before considering a long-distance move or any move that may significantly impact a parent’s currently ordered parent-time, parents must first:

  • Give the Other Parent Written Notice

Our statues state, if the custodial parent intends to move more than 150 miles away from their current residence (or out of state), they are typically required to provide written notice to the non-custodial parent and the court at least 60 days before the planned move. However, it is important to note that our Commissioners and Judges have restricted the children’s ability to move with a parent if the move will negatively affect the other parent’s parent-time. There is not an exact distance, but a determination as to whether or not said move makes the other parent’s parent-time more burdensome, perhaps not possible, and of course, whether or not the move is in the children’s best interest. This is why it is absolutely necessary to contact an experienced family law attorney if you desire to move with your children. It is a complex issue.

After receiving the notice, the non-custodial parent has 30 days to object to the relocation. If they oppose, a court hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the move is in the children’s best interests.

  • Attend the Scheduled Court Hearing

The court will consider various factors to determine whether the proposed relocation is in the children’s best interests. These factors can include the children’s relationship with both parents, the reason for the move, the potential impact on the children’s well-being, and the custodial parent’s motives for relocating.

The parent who wishes to move must provide evidence that proves the relocation is in the children’s best interests. Likewise, the non-custodial parent may present evidence to the contrary to keep the kids nearby.

If the court finds the move is in the children’s best interests, it may modify the custody and visitation orders to accommodate the new living arrangements. This could involve changes to the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule or other agreements to facilitate continued contact with the child.

Can Utah Parents Avoid a Relocation Hearing?

If both parents agree to the relocation, they can submit a written agreement to the court, and a hearing may not be necessary. However, the court will still review the agreement to ensure it is in the children’s best interests.

At Just Law Utah, we represent parents throughout Utah during child custody cases, modification requirements, and long-distance moves so they understand how our laws align with their expectations.

If you are a Utah parent considering a relocation or a non-custodial parent facing a potential relocation by the other parent, contact our skilled Salt Lake City family law attorneys today to learn more about your legal rights and options to build a strong argument that reflects your parental needs and your kids’ best interests.

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