Thompson v. Thompson – 2/21/2008

February 26, 2008

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That Relocating Parent May Move Up to 100 Miles From Her Physical Location With a Child As of the Date of the Court Order or Written Agreement Granting Custody or Parenting Time.

Mother petitioned for and obtained temporary custody of the children.  Thereafter, with the court’s approval, Mother mad a first move to a community approximately 73 miles away.  In May 2005, the court entered a final divorce decree, granting custody to Mother.  One year later, Mother notified the court she intended to make a second move, a distance of approximately 90 miles.  Father objected to Mother’s second move under A.R.S. § 25-408(B), which allowed him to object if Mother sought “to relocate the child more than one hundred miles within the state.”  The court refused to enjoin mother’s second move, finding A.R.S. § 25-408 inapplicable because Mother was only moving 90 miles.  Father moved for a new trial and argued that the statute required the court to calculate the miles of Mother’s relocation by adding the miles of the first move to the second move; he also argue that the mileage should be calculated from Father’s residence to Mother’s new location.  The court denied the motion and this appeal followed.

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected both of Father’s arguments.  As to Father’s first argument, the Court of Appeals found that the plain language A.R.S. § 25-408(E) rendered A.R.S. § 25-408(B) inapplicable to the first move, which had been made with court permission within one year of the proposed relocation.  As to Father’s second argument, the Court of Appeals agreed that A.R.S. § 25-408(B) does not identify the starting point for the calculation of the 100 miles.  The Court concluded that the statute “should be construed as allowing a parent granted joint custody or parenting time the right to move up to 100 miles from that parent’s physical location with the child as of the date of the written agreement or court order entitling both parents to custody or parenting time.” 

Judge Norris authored the opinion; Judges Timer and Brown concurred.