Life after Divorce: Child Custody and Relocation

There are many reasons why you might want to relocate after your divorce. Maybe you have a great job opportunity in another part of the state. Perhaps you need help from your family to take care of your kids and they live several counties away or in another state. If you wish to move after your divorce and your child custody arrangement has been finalized, you may need to go back to court to get permission to move.  An experienced family law attorney can explain in further detail.

How the court approaches move away requests depends on a handful of factors. An important factor is the current custody arrangement.  If you share joint custody with your ex-spouse the court may automatically assume that any change in the arrangement would be detrimental to the child.  Thus, the parent who wants to move must show the court that the move is in the best interests of the child. If you are moving nearby and will still be able to maintain your visitation schedule, it may be a good idea to discuss alternative arrangements for visitation with your ex.

Life After Divorce


If you are moving further away perhaps you can agree that the child will visit all summer or for school holidays.  If you cannot come to an agreement with the assistance of your divorce attorney, you may have to go to court.  When determining whether the move is in the best interests of the child, the court considers eight factors:

  1. the importance that the child maintain a stable and continuous environment,
  2. distance of the move,
  3. the child’s age,
  4. the relationship with both parents,
  5. the relationship between the parents and
  6. whether the move is just to harass the other parent,
  7. where the child would like to live if they are old enough to express those feelings, and
  8. the reasons for the move.

If you have sole physical of your children and your ex-spouse has very little visitation with the children, you have a presumptive right to move with your child.  The parent opposed to the move would have to show the court that the move would be detrimental to the child. Merely showing that the move would negatively impact their relationship with the child may not be enough.  In these cases courts evaluate the same eight factors listed above to determine if the move would be detrimental to the child.

Are you considering moving? If yes, it may be a good idea to contact an expert Los Angeles family law attorney to help you navigate your own situation and the California family court system.

For more information on relocation and child custody issues, contact the family lawyers at Walzer Melcher LLP today.


October 9th, 2014


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