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Can I Move Out of the State With a Child After a Divorce?

Posted on March 15th, 2023

One of the most challenging issues divorced parents face is when one parent wishes to move out of the state with the child after a divorce. If you are considering moving out of California with your child after a divorce, you may wonder if you can do so while abiding by the laws. This article will discuss the legal requirements for moving out of California with a child after a divorce, factors the court considers in a relocation case, and tips for custodial parents planning to relocate with a child.

Legal Requirements for Moving Out of California With a Child After a Divorce

Under California law, the parent planning to move in with the child after a divorce must give written notice to the other parent at least 45 days before the move. If you have sole legal and physical custody of the child, you may move out of state without the other parent’s consent. However, the other parent may still be entitled to other rights, and it is in your best interest and that of the child to comply with the relevant laws. In joint custody, however, the other parent may fail to consent to the move, and the custodial parent must obtain a court order to relocate the child out of the state.

Factors the Court Considers in a Relocation Case

California courts must consider several factors when deciding to grant the custodial parent’s request to move out of state with the child after a divorce:

  1. The Reason for the Move

If the custodial parent moves out of state for a job or better education opportunities for the child, the court may consider granting the request. However, if the move is primarily to limit the other parent’s access to the child, the court is less likely to grant the request as this is presumed detrimental to the child.

  1. Frequency of Contact With Both Parents

California law recognizes that children benefit from having frequent and meaningful relationships with both parents. Maintaining these relationships as much as possible is in the children’s best interests. A move out of state with a child after a divorce can significantly impact the other parent’s ability to maintain frequent contact with the child. If the court determines that the move will substantially impact one parent’s relationship with the child, it may deny the request to move away.

  1. The Impact on the Child’s Education and Social Life

The court will also consider the impact on the child’s education and social life. If the move negatively impacts the child’s education or social life, the court may be less likely to grant the request. However, if the move provides the child with better opportunities for education or socialization, the court may be more likely to grant the request.

Tips for a Custodial Parent Planning to Move Out of State

If you are a custodial parent considering moving out of the state with your child after a divorce, there are several things you should do to protect your rights and the best interests of your child:

  • Provide Notice to the Non-custodial Parent

You should provide a written notice, at least 45 days before the move, to the non-custodial parent, even if you are your child’s sole custodian, to avoid future legal issues.

  • Provide a New Custodian Schedule

Consider providing a new custodian schedule that accommodates the other parent’s needs. For example, you may propose alternative forms of communication like FaceTime or extended visitations during school breaks. This can show the court that you are acting in the child’s best interests and are willing to work with the other parent.

  • Obtain Legal Advice

If the non-custodial parent does not consent to the move, seeking legal advice from an experienced family law attorney is imperative. An attorney can assist in filing a petition and protect your legal rights and the child’s best interests.

Contact the Experienced Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Today

If you are a parent planning to move out of California, look no further than the experienced Los Angeles family law attorney at the Harris Family Law Group. We can assist you in comprehending your rights and presenting your case in court. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 310-745-8644 to discuss the details of your case.