When married couples split, usually their lives go through some changes. While some spouses may keep the same jobs and continue living in the same general area, that's not always the case. Often, a divorce brings big changes to one or both parties, especially as time passes.
Following a divorce, a spouse may get a new job and need to relocate. Or, one of the parties may want to move back home to be closer to family so they can get help and support raising their children. Another reason for a move is a new engagement or marriage.
What happens when one of the ex-spouses wants to move away with the children? Can they move whenever and wherever they like, or are there procedures that have to be followed?
What the Law Says About Move Away Cases
If a parent has a permanent order that says that he or she has sole (primary) physical custody of the children, then he or she has every right to move with the children without seeking the other parent's approval.
However, if it is not clear as to whether the custody order is temporary or permanent, then the parent with custody should have an attorney look at their paperwork before moving. Otherwise, the move could backfire on them.
If the parents have joint physical custody and one of the parents is not okay with the children moving, then the parent who wishes to move away with the children will have to prove to the court that moving would be in the children's best interests.
What is your current arrangement?
Even if your current arrangement says that you both have "joint" custody, keep in mind that if there is a dispute over a move, the court will be looking at your actual parenting schedule in present time, rather than rely on what it says on paper.
Move away cases are delicate situations, and the last thing you want to do is move without ensuring that you have followed the appropriate legal steps. A misstep can lead to the opposite of what you desire, and a drastic change in your custody and visitation schedule.
Whether you are the parent who is trying to move away with your children, or you are the parent trying to contest such a move, you should not handle this alone. Rather, contact our office to speak with one of our Los Angeles child custody attorneys.