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I Heard My Former Spouse Wants to Move Away With the Kids – Can they do that?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Child Custody and Visitation

I heard my former spouse wants to move away with the kids – can they do that?  These are extremely challenging times and risks associated with the COVID-19 virus may cause child custody and parenting time challenges.  Can a former spouse take your child or children and relocate or move out of the area or out of state without authorization from the Court?

Generally speaking this is almost always against the orders issued by the Judge in your divorce case, and it is possible to put a stop to relocation plans and bring the matter before the Court.

The important thing is to ACT IMMEDIATELY. Once the children have left the State of California a new legal “jurisdiction” may be established within a matter of days or weeks.

Jurisdiction is the key legal issue in these cases. The Court who has jurisdiction over the case is one where the case will be heard and whose laws will apply to the decision of the Court.

For example, a North County Judge issues divorce orders including child custody and parenting time. The North County court retains jurisdiction over the case.  Parent “A” attempts to secretly take the children and move to Oklahoma and immediately files for “emergency jurisdiction.” If the spouse remaining in California does not take quick action to preserve the jurisdiction of the North County Court the case can become much more challenging, legally complex and expensive.

Acting quickly allows the experienced attorneys at Burke and Domercq to seek immediate orders from the Court preventing the removal of the children. If the children have already crossed state lines our Court will almost always immediately order the return of the children.  Our courts take a very dim view of a spouse who leaves California without seeking permission from our courts in advance.  Parents who move children out of California without the Court’s permission often face the complete loss of child custody and severely restricted parenting time.

Move-away and relocation child custody cases are quite legally complex.  If your former spouse wants to move away with the kids you need a Certified Family Law Specialist with decades of experience and legal skill.  We invite you to contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment with one of our proven child custody lawyers.