Can a Parent Move Away with the Kids?

After a couple divorces, it’s not uncommon for circumstances to change...sometimes things change a lot. One issue that frequently arises after a divorce is the notion of moving away to another city, another county, or another state.

People move all the time and there’s no reason why a divorced parent might not want to move as well. Often, a divorced spouse wants to move because they are remarrying, they need to relocate for their job, they have an amazing job offer in another state, or because they want to move back home where they can be closer to family, who can help them with their children.

So, how does moving away enter into the child custody equation? Can one parent move with the children whenever they want? Or, do they need the other parent’s permission? What if the other parent says “No!” to the move?

Move-Away Actions in Orange County

Here’s the deal: The law on move-away cases is not only complicated, but it changes. If you’re planning on moving with your children and you’re worried your former spouse will object or if you’re concerned that your ex will move away with your children without your permission, we urge you to contact our firm.

Generally, if a mom or dad has a permanent order for primary physical custody, also called “sole custody,” then he or she can do what they want. They can move with the children unless the other parent can prove to the court that the move would be harmful to the kids. For example, the parent with sole custody is marrying a convicted child molester.

If parents have joint physical custody and one parent wants to move away with the children and the other parent objects to the move, the parent who is trying to move must convince the court that the move is in the children’s best interests.

Even if your Parenting Plan says you have “sole” or “joint custody,” if there is a dispute over a move, the family court will look at the actual existing parenting schedule as opposed to what it says in the Parenting Plan.

If you’re getting a divorce and you’re worried that one day your spouse may try to move away with your children, talk to an Orange County divorce attorney from our firm to ensure your rights are protected in the Parenting Plan.