Under What Circumstances Can I Relocate During a Divorce?

When couples split up, they each begin to repair their lives and move on. For some people, this includes a move out of state. You may wonder if you may relocate during a divorce. In some cases, relocation is certainly possible. However, if you have children, it will make the situation much more complex. There are many things to consider before answering the question, “Can I relocate during a divorce?”

Meeting Residency Requirements for Divorce

When a divorce petition is filed in Arizona, the parties must meet the requirements for dissolution of marriage. One of the requirements states that one of the spouses must have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing. This provides the Arizona court jurisdiction over the matter. Once the petition is filed, neither party is actually required to continue living in the state.

Arizona Courts Will Retain Jurisdiction

In divorces where one or both spouses move out of state after filing the petition, Arizona courts will continue to retain jurisdiction. This is true even when both spouses no longer live in the state. The court generally has the right to force both parties to appear in an Arizona courtroom when necessary. For this reason, it may be logistically difficult to move before the divorce is finalized. It may also complicate matters, especially in a contested divorce.

Complications to Parenting Time or Custody Matters

In Arizona, both parents are expected to participate in their children’s lives after a divorce. Often, the time spent with children is split about equally between parents after the union ends. This can be difficult, or impossible, for a parent who has moved out of state. The court may then grant primary residential status, to one parent, while allowing the other to visit according to a schedule.

Relocating with a child out of state is another matter entirely and is much more complicated. Unless the parties reach an agreement for the relocation, the Court will have to decide whether it is in the child’s best interests to relocate.

Making the Decision to Relocate

As you can see, there may be various issues that will be complicated by the decision to relocate during the divorce. In some cases, it is still beneficial to move. You need to make the choice once you completely understand all of the potential matters that could come up. If you are thinking about relocating, it is advisable to speak with a qualified family law attorney before making a decision. Call the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation today.


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 Relocate During a Divorce, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard 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.