As a way to put their divorce behind them and make a fresh start somewhere new, many parents consider relocation following the end of a marriage. However, moving out of state with the kids is not that simple.
In general, a parent who has a permanent order for sole physical custody—also known as primary physical custody—in California can move away with the children, unless the other parent can show that the move would harm them. On the other hand, if the parents have joint physical custody of the children and one parent does not approve of the move, the parent that wishes to move away with the kids needs to show the court that the move is in the best interest of the children.
In the event the other parent doesn’t approve of your plan to relocate with the children, you’ll have a hearing and the judge will decide if you are allowed to move with your children. Again, the main question in the mind of the judge is whether the move is in the best interests of the kids. Will the move bring a better quality of life, a more stable environment, and a better experience?
In preparation for the hearing, you must focus on compiling evidence and information that will persuade the judge any of the following:
- The move will create a more financially stable situation for the family – lf you have a new job which requires the move, be prepared to show evidence of a new salary and benefits, thus improving the family’s situation. Additionally, some parents relocate so that they can move in with family and save on living and babysitting expenses. In this case, demonstrate how much you will save and how it will benefit the family.
- A better support system is available at the new location – If you are living in an area where not a lot of family members are close by, moving to where your family is located can have a positive impact for your children. Discuss how much family is at the new location and how they will be to offer support and assistance. Offer evidence to show your kids’ relationships with their relatives are close.
- You’re moving for a fresh start – Although a change of scenery is sometimes necessary after a hotly contested divorce, you need to be careful not to present this argument as a need to move away from your ex. Rather, be prepared to show how the new location will improve your life. Put together all the positive factors, such as a better job or educational opportunities, to present to the court.
- You’re moving to remarry – Considered a common reason to move away, it is important to be careful not to present the new marriage as the only reason. Perhaps it means a better home, more support, improved finances, and a positive change for the family.
A relocation decision is a difficult one for any court, so the better prepared you are and the more persuasive evidence you can offer, the more likely you are to be able to obtain the most favorable outcome possible.