Understanding relocation and your domestic violence divorce

Arizona family courts place a strong emphasis on allowing both parents sufficient opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with their children. Divorcing couples with children will usually receive some manner of custody, legal decision-making ability or parenting time visitation privileges unless other factors exist which may be detrimental to the children's best interests.

Arizona courts recognize domestic violence or sexual abuse as contrary to the proper development of any child. There are a few things you should know regarding relocation if your ex-spouse has engaged in such behavior. Typically, divorced spouses with children are required to notify the other parent in writing whenever they wish to relocate more than 100 miles away, while still remaining within Arizona -- or if they wish to move out-of-state.

Those conditions do not always apply in cases involving domestic abuse. In fact, there is a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has committed domestic abuse should not receive a court-ordered award of sole or joint legal decision-making authority over a child.

Basically, this means that an attorney can argue on your behalf as to why your relocation away from your child's other parent might be in the child's best interests. You also need to know that you do not need to wait until you or your child's abuser actually commits a physical act. You may be entitled to relocate as long as your abuser has placed you or your children in reasonable apprehension of some form of imminent serious physical injury.

An attorney familiar with Arizona's family law regulations can evaluate the particular circumstances of your case and determine whether a relocation is appropriate for your situation. Additionally, in cases where your abuser has been convicted of domestic abuse, it may be possible to keep the details of your relocation confidential.

Source: Arizona State Legislature - Arizona Revised Statutes, "25-408. Rights of each parent; parenting time; relocation of child; exception; enforcement; access to prescription medication and records," accessed July 02, 2015

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