Relocation After Divorce in Utah

After married parents finalize a divorce in Utah, it is not uncommon for the custodial parent to move away with the children, whether it’s because of a better job opportunity, being closer to more family members, or even remarriage. However, relocation can create issues for the other parent, such as reduced parenting time and additional visitation costs for travel and more. 

How to Relocate After Divorce in Utah 

According to Utah law, if a custodial parent wishes to move more than 150 miles from his/her current residence, they must provide a notice to the court and the other parent at least 60 days before the planned move. Simply telling the noncustodial parent about the relocation is not enough. 

The following information must be included in the written notice: 

  • Details about the upcoming move 

  • A new visitation schedule (parent-time schedule or parenting plan) is either approved by both parents or ordered by the court 

  • Costs associated with travel 

  • The custodial parent promises not to interfere with the noncustodial parent’s parent time 

If the noncustodial parent rejects the proposed move, the court will schedule a hearing to review the proposal and the information provided by the custodial parent. 

Relocation Hearing 

The court will ensure the move is in the child’s best interests. If so, the parents should establish the best parenting plan for the noncustodial parent and the child. If the parent cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide the schedule and determine the travel costs that each parent will incur. 

The following are the factors the court will consider when determining a parent-time schedule: 

  • The reason for the proposed relocation 

  • The issues associated with each parent’s ability to fulfill the parent-time schedule 

  • Each parent’s economic resources 

  • Other relevant factors 

Paying for Travel Costs 

Since travel can be both costly and demanding, it is best for parents to agree—in advance—who is financially responsible for the child’s travel expenses. If the parents cannot agree, Utah law says the relocating parent must pay for all the child’s travel expenses during the school year and at least half of the costs during summer break. However, if the noncustodial parent is behind on paying monthly child support, he/she must pay for the child’s travel costs. 

Can a Noncustodial Parent Gain Full Custody? 

A noncustodial parent may modify a child custody order and become the child’s custodial parent if he/she proves there has been a substantial and material change of circumstances since the previous order. Common examples of a change in circumstances include remarriage, a promotion or new job associated with a higher income, etc. 

The court may consider the following factors to determine if modification is in the child’s best interests: 

  • The relationship between the parent and the child 

  • Which parent is more willing to act in the best interests of the child 

  • Which parent will allow the child to have a continuing relationship with the other parent 

  • The parent’s moral standards and past conduct 

  • The child’s opinion, if age-appropriate 

If you are interested in relocating with your child after a divorce in Salt Lake City, contact Nelson, Taylor & Associates PLLC today at (801) 901-7046 for a free consultation. Thousands of cases handled throughout Utah! 

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