Move Away / Relocation Cases

Move Away / Relocation Cases

Parents regularly relocate during or after a divorce. This is often a highly contentious situation, raising two questions: whether the parent is allowed to move away and how the custody arrangements should be amended to reflect the change in circumstances.

We understand both the law and the sensitive realities of these disputes. We represent parents on both sides of custody relocation, in contested proceedings and in negotiated agreements, providing honest counsel, practical suggestions, and zealous advocacy.

Can the Custodial Parent Move Out of Town? Out of State? Out of the Country?

In California, a parent with custody of a child has the authority to change the child’s residence. The law presumes a valid reason for the move, and assumes the move serves the child’s best interests. It is the non-custodial parent’s burden to prove otherwise. Irrespective of the custodial parent’s authority to move, that parent must (a) notify the other parent and (b) petition the court for consent. These requirements (a & b) tend to be part of all or most custody and visitation orders.

If the court has not issued an initial custody order when a parent seeks to move with the children, then the court will consider many factors in awarding custody and deciding whether to authorize relocation: geographical distance, the child’s age and needs, parenting duties, the parent-child bond and amount of contact, community ties, and the child’s own preference (if age-appropriate).

If you are challenging a move-away, we will help you present your case that the move would adversely affect your child, or that the other parent has bad faith motives that would detrimentally affect your relationship with your child.

If you are moving and the other parent opposes the move, we will advocate for you in the relocation hearing, and help you address transition plans and custody modifications.