This article discusses:
- Taking children without your spouse’s consent.
- How a lawyer is invaluable to your complex relocation case.
- Whether courts automatically update changes to your file when you move.
In Arizona, Can I Take My Children If I Leave My Spouse?
While you can take your children if you leave your spouse, it may not be the wisest thing to do. Doing such may even put you in a worse situation further along in your divorce and custody case.
Both parents have equal rights to their children in Arizona in a divorce case (things are a little different if the parties aren’t married, at least until paternity is established). As a result, if you wanted, you could probably take your kids with you. However, this same reality is the basis your spouse could use to take them back against your will. Therefore, other than resolving the matter in court, there is no way to get exclusive custody of your children. Relying on the other parent to just do nothing if you take the kids and don’t give them access is not a great plan.
Unless your spouse abuses you or you otherwise have a really good reason, taking the children will probably be a problem for you in court. This is especially true when a judge examines your case against the best interest factors that we have to use in every case involving children. One of these factors is whether you provided your spouse the ability to have a meaningful relationship with your children. If the court deems that to not have been the case, doing this will most likely work against you, because the court will likely decide that you unreasonably interfered with the other parent’s relationship with the children.
Proactively financially and mentally preparing for a divorce in Arizona will help you avoid this situation. It may seem satisfying in the heat of the moment, and if you are lucky, you may get some brief child support benefits, but in the long term, it may cost you a lot more than you want or realize at the time.
If A Relocation Does Not Impact The Custody Arrangement With My Former Spouse, Can I Relocate With My Children To Another City, County, Or State?
Although you can relocate before filing for your divorce, doing so will bring several complications and problems. After a divorce is finalized, relocation will certainly impact the custody arrangement as far as the court is concerned. You will need to modify your parenting plan in court as a result. A lot of this comes down to simple, practical logistics in everyday life that will play into the final calculation. You might think relocation won’t change anything, but if it changes things like the driving distance, the school district, the distance to the primary care doctor, and things like that, it may very well be significant enough to require court involvement.
Do I Need An Arizona Child Custody Lawyer To Apply For My Relocation?
Strictly speaking, you do not need a lawyer to apply for relocation. Since no law says you must have a lawyer if you want to go to court, you technically do not need a lawyer for anything.
Since relocation cases are among the most complicated types, it is extremely difficult to handle the matter independently. In addition, judges will likely want to see lots of specific evidence. If you are unaware of this, you can file that case, but it will probably not end well for you. A lawyer can help guide you through the numerous relocation factors the court is required to consider in this kind of case, and can also help you present your evidence in the best and most effective way to persuade the judge that the relocation you are proposing is in your child’s best interests (and is not just something you want to do because it is convenient for you).
If Relocation Is Granted In Arizona By The Family Court, Will It Automatically Adjust Child Support To Accommodate Any Changes In Time Spent And Distance Travel?
The Arizona Family Court does not automatically calculate or update changes due to relocation. The court will want a new (or modified) child support order that reflects the new reality of parenting time based on the relocation. Therefore, you must supply all new relevant information to the court, as well as make the argument as to why the child support should be changed. This is part of the relocation petition. If you provide the court with the required information and it has all the needed information from your ex-spouse, they will be able to do the calculation. If you don’t provide that information, the court will have a very hard time calculating child support and you may not receive the support you technically should have – or, in the alternative, you may end up paying too much support.
Is This Also The Case For Adjusting The Visitation Schedules?
The same applies to adjusting visitation schedules. Again, you must go to court and indicate that you want a new schedule. You have to tell the court what schedule you want, and you also have to tell the court why that schedule is realistic and is best for the children.
This is a critical component of relocation. One of the big factors courts look at when you want to relocate is the parenting time the person who is not relocating will have. If your proposal leaves no time for them, that will be a big problem for you in your relocation case, and may even be the reason the court decides not to allow you to relocate.
For more information on Preparing Financially For A Divorce In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 666-6871 today.