If you have packed your things and are planning on leaving the state of Utah during divorce, stop right where you are. No, we are not here to lecture you about how running away from your woes isn’t the solution (in many cases, it is!), we are here to warn you of the legal ramifications of moving out of state with a child before or after filing for divorce in Utah.
“First and foremost, leaving the state of Utah during divorce may complicate your custody arrangement,” warns our Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emy A. Cordano.
To prevent your spouse from using the fact that you took the kids and moved out of state without getting the court’s permission as his or her trump card during negotiations in your divorce case, it is a much safer bet to wait until your divorce is finalized and you have a parenting plan in place.
Our experienced child custody lawyer Salt Lake City explains that in the parenting plan, there will be a clear custody arrangement that may include a provision that allows the custodial parent to leave the state of Utah with his or her children. If you do not do this as instructed by law, you risk being found in contempt of court.
Under Utah law, moving 150 miles or more from the non-custodial parent is considered “relocation.” In other words, if you take the kids and move less than 150 miles without getting permission from the court or notifying the noncustodial parent, you will be fine.
Interestingly, if one of the parents moves out of state with the children and the other one does not live in the state, neither the custodial nor the noncustodial parent will be able to file for divorce in Utah.
With an experienced Salt Lake City child custody lawyer by your side, you can ensure that a provision that allows you to leave the state of Utah with the children is included in the parenting plan. One of the best ways to add this provision to a parenting plan is to bring up your plans to move out of state early on in the divorce process.
You may be over complicating things if you move a child out of state before filing for divorce in Utah. That’s because Utah follows the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which requires only the child’s “home state” (the state where the child has lived for the past six months) to make an initial custody determination.
In other words, if you leave the state of Utah, it will continue to have jurisdiction over your divorce and child custody arrangement until you have lived in another state for at least six months (only then it will qualify as the child’s “home state”). Do keep in mind that the other parent will still have the option to file for divorce and custody in Utah even if you move out of state with the children (because Utah is still the child’s home state).
Either way, if you are planning on leaving the state of Utah with the kids before or after filing for divorce, it is advised to consult with an experienced child custody lawyer in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah. Schedule a free consultation with our divorce attorney Emy A. Cordano by calling at 801-804-5152.