This article first appeared on St. George News under the Snow Jensen & Reece column "Legal Briefings."
Tyson C. Horrocks is an St. George, Utah, attorney with the law firm of Snow, Jensen & Reece. The content in this column should not be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for counsel on individual matters, in most scenarios it is premised upon Utah law and may not be relevant to issues arising in other states.
Question: I am planning to move out of the area and I was told the laws changed this year regarding how many miles you and your children can move from your ex-spouse and how much notice you have to give. What are the new statutes?
Answer: The new law relevant to your question takes effect on May 8, 2012. The law defines “relocation” as moving 150 miles or more from the residence of your ex-spouse. If you are moving less than 150 miles from your ex-spouse, the move is not considered a “relocation” and the requirements of the statute do not apply.
If you are moving more than 150 miles from your ex-spouse, then you must provide them at least 60 days advance notice, in writing. The written notice must contain statements affirming that you will follow the parent-time schedule and that neither parent will interfere with the other’s parent-time rights.
When your ex-spouse receives the notice, they have the right to request a hearing for the court to review whether the relocation is in the best interest of your children. If the court does find that the move is in your children’s best interest, then it may also determine the parent-time schedule and allocate transportation costs. If the court finds the move is not in your children’s best interest, and you still relocate with the children, then the court may order a change in custody.
The new law is HB 448, as amended, which modifies Utah Code Annotated section 30-3-37. If you believe this law may apply to your circumstances, we recommend you seek legal counsel to guide you in relation to these issues.