Do You Need the Other Parent’s Permission to Travel or Relocate?

Moving away or traveling with your children can be complicated if you and their other parent have a custody and visitation order. You may need permission from your children’s other parent to leave the state. Additionally, you may have to notify them of your intent to relocate. The laws and your obligations concerning moving or traveling with your children are complex. You must follow them, as custody and visitation could be at risk. If you’re planning on relocating or vacationing with your children, speak with a family law attorney first. They can give counsel and guidance on your rights and responsibilities.

To discuss your situation with one of our San Diego attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP, please call us at (310) 817-6904 or contact us online.

What Happens If You Want to Move with Your Children?

How relocating with your children is handled depends on whether you have sole or joint custody. Generally, you can move away with your children without the other parent’s permission if you are the custodial parent. You must have a permanent custody order in place. Your right to move away with your children is not protected in a temporary order.

Although you may not need the other parent’s consent to move, they can object to your taking your children to a different place. They could argue that moving the children would not be in their best interests. They may also request that the court modify your custody arrangement.

If you and the other parent have joint custody, the burden falls on you to prove that moving is in the best interests of your children.

What Is a Relocation Hearing?

The court may schedule you for a relocation hearing if the other parent disagrees with your move and wants your custody arrangements reconsidered. The other parent may argue that moving would adversely affect your children’s well-being.

At the relocation hearing, the court will consider various factors when determining whether moving would be in the best interests of your children.

Some of the variables a judge will look at include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The distance you are planning on moving
  • The reason you want or need to relocate
  • The relationship your children have with each parent
  • The emotional and physical needs of your children
  • Other relevant factors

Do You Have to Notify the Parent of Your Intent to Move?

If you plan to relocate with your children for more than 30 days, you must notify the other parent (California Family Law Code § 3024) unless the court has found this requirement to be inappropriate. You must provide the notification at least 45 days before your intended move. This gives you and the other parent time to develop a new custody agreement.

If you are able to move away with your children, you and their other parent may consider developing a parenting plan allowing them contact with your children. Provided that you stay relatively close geographically to the other parent’s home, you may be able to work out a visitation schedule accounting for travel time. If you leave the state, you could use video chatting apps to ensure their other parent gets quality time with your children.

What About Traveling Out of State with Your Children?

For the most part, you will need permission from your children’s other parent to travel out of state or out of the country with your children. You will especially need it if your travel plans conflict with the other parent’s visitation time.

Before traveling with your children, review your current custody order. If it contains any limitations on travel, you must file a request with the court to leave the state or country. Be sure you have a court-ordered document approving the details of your trip prior to taking off.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Situation

It is important that before you travel or move with your attorney, you follow proper legal procedures. This generally means addressing the court before your intended trip or relocation to ensure that you know what’s required of you. Failing to fulfill your obligations could result in loss of custody or visitation and, in the most severe circumstances, lead to a kidnapping charge. Navigating the legalities of your case can be overwhelming and, at times, confusing. Having a lawyer assist with reviewing documents, developing your arguments, and presenting your case can ease some of the stresses of the situation.

Our San Diego team at Claery & Hammond, LLP helps protect the rights of parents. Schedule a consultation by contacting usat (310) 817-6904.