State Capitol News
9:27 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Bill May Cause Problems For Divorced Parents Who Want To Move

State lawmakers are moving to throw a new hurdle in the path of divorced parents who want to move. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Under current law a custodial parent can move up to 100 miles without approval. This measure would require notice of any move to the former spouse. And that person then could object, forcing a full-blown court hearing - perhaps eight months later.

Thomas Alongi, an attorney with Community Legal Services, said this would create problems for a parent who needs to move, perhaps to the next town, to pursue a job - and has to get approval from the ex. Alongi said, "anyone who's been into Family Court knows that there are people who live to say no because they can, becaue they're upset about how the verdict went down the last time or just because it messes up work." Alongi also said if the 100 mile rule is too broad, then lawmakers should come up with something else. He said there needs to be some rule about how far a parent can move without triggering a hearing.

But, divorce attorney Keith Berkshire said the problem with hard and fast rules is they fail to consider other factors. "30 miles in Kingman, when you live off I-40, is nothing," Berkshire said. "Up there, moving 30 miles, who cares? There's one school. If you do no changes at school, who cares if you move 50 miles? It doesn't make any difference to anybody. But 15 miles in Phoenix does. I mean, travel across McDowell in the middle of hte day. And 15 miles totally destroys your parenting time, changes schools and everything."

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the plan on a 5-4 vote.