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Rules that apply when parents need to move

One of the hardest things to deal with when parents are not living in the same home as their children is the possibility that either they will have to move or the child's other parent will say that they need to move. While there are often good or at lease credible reasons for moving, moves still can significant disrupt or even effectively cut off a parent's ability to have a relationship with his or her child by, as a practical matter, cutting off the parent's visitation rights.

Fortunately, Arizona law gives parents some protection from another parent, oftentimes the one who has primary custody of the child, from moving suddenly or out of spite for the other parent. Under the law, the parent who wants to move will generally have to give the other parent 45 days notice of the move if the move is going to be outside of Arizona or, even if within the state's borders, more than 100 miles from the parent's current residence.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For one, it only applies when parents share what is commonly called legal custody, which means each parent has the authority to make decisions about the child. Also, the rule only applies when both parents are living in Arizona.

Should a parent receive a notice of an impending move, he or she has 30 days to object and file a request in court either to prevent the move or modify visitation or child custody. A parent who is moving also has the option of taking the matter to court if he or she feels a change in visitation or custody is warranted.

Like almost all other custody decisions, a court will decide whether an Arizona parent can move based on the best interests of the child. While this may seem simple enough to figure out, what is or is not in a child's best interests can be the subject of a great deal of debate on controversy which is often best resolved with the help of a qualified family law attorney in the Phoenix area.

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