When spouses divorce there are many issues that must be resolved. The most important matters for couples with children revolve around parenting. In Arizona, both parents are expected to share responsibilities and provide for their children. In some cases, the children will reside most of the time with one parent, while enjoying regular  parenting time with the other.  Other times, the parents will enjoy equal parenting time. Sometimes, one parent wants to move. Parents may wonder, can I move out of state with my child? The question is a complex one and depends greatly on the parents themselves. It also depends on the reason for the requested move.

Review the Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is included as part of every dissolution of marriage where there are minor children. The spouses should have input into the plan, and it should be as detailed as possible. As part of the plan, spouses should have already considered how to handle requests to move and other important situations that may arise. The first thing to do if you are considering a move out of state is to review your parenting plan. Find out if it addresses this matter. If it does, you will need to know the exact terms that were already determined. Often, a parenting plan will simply refer to the Arizona statute regarding relocation: A.R.S. § 25-408.  If it does, then follow the instructions of the statute (after consulting with an attorney, of course).


Modifications or changes to the divorce order are possible, but must be made in accordance with the law. Changes that cannot be agreed upon informally need to be requested through a Petition and hearing process. It is strongly advisable to seek representation from an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will help you file the necessary request and will help you prepare for the hearing. Both you and your former spouse must attend the hearing. The judge will listen to both parents as they present their cases. The judge will make the final decision.

Best Interest of the Child

Arizona law requires that all legal decisions be made on behalf of a child must be in their best interest. The judge will review all aspects of the situation to determine what is best for everyone concerned, especially the child. There may be reasons why moving is necessary. For example, the parent may be the main provider and their job is being transferred to another state. However, parents need to know that with the parent who wants to move with the child has the burden of showing it is in the child’s best interests to move. Talk with your attorney as soon as possible, because these matters could take some time to resolve.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Can I Move Out of State With My Child?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.