Couples with children eventually need to work out custody arrangements if they divorce or break up. In California, state law protects the rights of both parents while centering the best interests of the children in all custody matters.
Where you live after the divorce can be a source of conflict between you and your ex. Staying close to one another is often key to frequent visitation and custody exchanges, but that isn’t always realistic. Your ex may want to move to a different community or even leave the state to go back home and be near their parents.
Can your ex take the children with them and move away?
Do they have sole custody?
Your current custody arrangements have an influence on move-away requests. A shared custody arrangement may already limit your ex’s ability to relocate with the children. Custody orders often place a limit on travel or moves.
However, if they have sole custody, you may not need to give your approval for them to move. Your only chance to prevent the move may be to file a modification request before they leave the current jurisdiction.
If you share custody, you can ask the courts to intervene and stop the move from happening to preserve your relationship with the children.
Will the move be good for the children?
Perhaps the most important question that determines what rights you have in a move-away situation is whether the move will be good for the children. If you contest your ex moving so far away that you can’t reasonably schedule visitation, the courts may review the case and make a decision about what would be best.
Sometimes, one parent doesn’t have a justification for wanting to move other than getting away from their ex. The courts are unlikely to approve the request in that kind of situation. However, if there are better schools, more community support, or other beneficial resources available for your children after the move, the courts may decide that it is in their best interests.
Learning more about how the California family courts resolve move-away disputes can help you preserve your relationship with your children.