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What If I Have to Move After a Divorce – May I take the Kids?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2020 | Child Custody and Visitation

We are often asked “What if I have to move after a divorce – may I take the kids?” Relocation or move away child custody cases are legally quite complex.  It is best to seek the advice of the experienced post-divorce child custody attorneys at Burke & Domercq. While each situation is unique, generally speaking the question of relocating with children after a divorce must be resolved through the written (and notarized) agreement of the parties or an order from the Court.

In most North County San Diego divorce cases the Court retains jurisdiction over the case after the final decree is issued.  This applies to questions such as child custody and move away cases or relocation. One thing is absolutely certain:

California Courts take a dim view of parents who take the children and move out of the area or out of state without the Court’s permission in advance of the move.

Doing so could very well risk your existing custody orders and in many cases threatens your ability to have any custody or unsupervised parental visitation in the future.

Why can’t I just take the kids and move after a divorce in North County?  If one has sole custody or “primary” custody there may be a “presumptive right” for you to relocate. The paperwork from your North County or Carlsbad divorce should contain the final custody orders.  These orders usually require the relocating parent to obtain the written consent of the non-custodial parent. In these cases one may only have to file a request of the Court and it is up to the other parent to prove why the move would be detrimental to the children.

If you share custody or have any form of shared parenting with your former spouse the case may be much more complicated.  This is especially if your former spouse disapproves of the move.

The Court will review the current parenting agreement and custody orders and determine if those orders have been maintained post-decree. The party requesting to relocate with the children must usually demonstrate clearly why the relocation is in the best interests of the children and how they will be able to maintain consistent quality visitation with the other parent.

Examples include moving closer to the support of a network of family and friends, a substantially improved quality of living, education and/or health.

If you are hoping to take your children and move after a divorce you should not do so without securing written notarized consent and proper orders from the court.  We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment to discuss your plans, review existing orders and formulate a strategy to help accomplish your goals and objectives.