Moving Away After a Divorce: How Will Custody Be Affected?

Posted By Taub & Taub || 7-Sep-2016

Divorce can be a traumatic time of transition from one phase of life to the next. In many cases, spouses may wish to relocate to a new location after a divorce as a means to start fresh or distance themselves from people and places that remind them of their past relationship. While this is completely understandable, this can introduce difficulty in situations where ex-spouses share children under a shared custody arrangement.

What Is a "Move Away" Case?

In California, a "move away" case arises when a parent with joint or sole custody of a child decides to move away to an area that is far enough away to impact their existing custody or visitation arrangement, requiring a modification to be pursued. While parents have the freedom to move and live wherever they may please, parents with joint custody may not bring their children with them without the consent of the other parent if the move will infringe upon the other parent's rights to see their children, unless they are able to demonstrate to the courts that the move would be in the child's best interests.

The courts will consider the following when determining the child's best interests:

  • The child's age
  • The distance of the proposed move
  • The child's relationship with both parents
  • If of suitable age, the child's preferences
  • The reasoning behind the move
  • The relationship between both parents

Before this issue goes to a judge, however, parents must mediate the issue and attempt to reach an agreement on their own regarding where the child will live and what visitation arrangements will be. If an agreement cannot be made, spouses must return to court to make new orders.

What If a Moving Parent Has Sole Custody?

Generally speaking, parents in California who have permanent sole physical custody over their children have the "presumptive right" to move away with their children without the other parent's consent unless the other parent is able to demonstrate that the move would be harmful to the children. This can be difficult. While the move's harmful impact on the child's relationship with the non-moving parent is indeed a factor, it if often not enough of a reason to warrant a reconsideration of the existing custody order.

Move away cases can be incredibly complex ordeals, requiring the trained eye of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney in order to maximize one's chances of securing a favorable outcome. If you are looking to move away with your children or are fearful that the other parent will move away with your child, the Woodland Hills family lawyers at Taub & Taub, P.C. can provide the strong legal guidance you need to ensure your rights as a parent are protected.

Call (818) 839-2415 today to evaluate your legal options in detail.