Need to Relocate?
A very difficult issue than can arise in a divorce case is when one of the parties wishes to relocate more than 150 miles from the other. Utah has a statute associated with this issue, i.e., Utah Code Section 30-3-37. However, whether a party is permitted to relocate with the children is a question of fact. The case law and the particular preferences by each District court vary depending upon the facts of the case, and the perspective of each individual judge in my experience. Some courts routinely allow the parent who has been the primary caregiver to relocate. Other courts will not do so if the children have lived in Utah most of their lives — and that goes for even fairly young children. This kind of case requires very skilled advocacy.
60-Day Advance Notice
Utah’s relocation statute requires the relocating party to provide 60-day advance notice to the other parent before moving. However, the courts frequently do not apply this provision, and just consider the bases for the move.
Reason for Relocating?
The statute requires the relocating party to provide a reason for the move to the court. Usually, getting a better job, marriage to a person out of state, or living closer to extended family members who can help care for the children are good reasons which a court will consider. However, since relocation will mean a serious break in the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the children, Utah Courts frequently will require the children to remain in Utah unless these reasons are compelling, or there is no alternative. But again, since each District Court judge is different (with their own perspective), sometimes the only reason given by the court for allowing the move is that the primary caregiver wants to move with the children.