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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Relocating with children post divorce

Your marriage is coming to a close, and you are considering what you want your life to be like after divorce. You do have children to think about and want to do what is best for them. If your or your spouse's plans involve relocating, know that neither one of you can move with your children without proper authorization. 

In the state of California, joint custody is the custody arrangement of choice these days. When both parents want equal time with their children, yet one wants to move the children out of the area, joint custody -- in the traditional sense -- may not be possible. That is if the courts even agree to allow the relocating parent to take the kids with them. 

Before packing up and moving away

Before you or your spouse can pack up and move away with your kids, you do need to settle on a custody plan. If you both want joint custody, you have to take the time to consider how the distance will affect each parent's time with the children. You have to consider visitation schedules and travel expenses. Most importantly, you have to give thought to if the move is really going to benefit your kids. 

There are a few reasons that a judge will agree to allow a parent to relocate with his or her children. Those reasons are:

  • The need for family support
  • Better employment opportunity
  • To continue one's education
  • To live in a more affordable area

If there is any hint that the want to relocate is in bad faith, the court will deny one's request to move the children. 

When to seek relocation approval

If a move is local, there is no need to seek relocation approval in court. If you and your spouse can come to agreeable custody terms that involve a relocation, there is no need to have a judge intervene. The only time it is necessary to seek court approval is if the move takes the kids a far enough distance that it makes visitation difficult for the other parent, or the other parent is rejecting one's request to move the children.

Do what you think is best

If you think that moving the children is the best thing for them, you certainly have the right to seek approval to relocate them. If you feel that your children need to remain where they are, you also have the right to fight a relocation request. Know that, no matter what side of the fence you are on -- either for or against relocation -- you can seek help fighting for the custody arrangement you believe is best for your family.

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