It is not unusual for a person in Colorado to move to a new home. Sometimes a person gets a new job in another city. Other times a person might want to move to an area with a lower cost of living, a better commute or to be closer to family. However, if a person is a parent, is no longer in a relationship with their child's other parent and wants to move with the child, the current parenting plan will have to be modified if appropriate.
Under Colorado law, if the parent with whom the child lives with most of the time wants to move to a place that substantially changes how far apart the child lives from the child's other parent, the court will determine whether to modify the parties' parenting time based on the child's best interests. One factor the court will consider is if restricting a parent's parenting time would have a significant negative effect on the child's health or emotional development.
At the hearing on the matter, if the non-moving party contests the move, the court will consider why the parent wants to move and why the child's other parent opposes it. The court will consider the history and quality of each parent's relationship with the child. The educational opportunities that the child currently has and would have if he or she moved will be considered. Whether or not extended family lives where the child currently lives and where the proposed move is will be considered.
If there is an advantage to having the child stay with his or her primary caregiver, this will be considered. The court will also take into account how the move will impact the child. Whether it is possible to create a reasonable parenting time schedule if the move takes place is another factor that will be considered.
No one can predict the future. Sometimes a custodial parent will want to move to a new home with the child years after the initial parenting time schedule is created. While a parent might have a good reason for the move, it should only take place if it is in the best interests of the child. If so, the child custody schedule will need to be modified to allow the noncustodial parent to still have enough contact with the child that he or she can maintain a meaningful relationship with the child.