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Thinking of relocating? Remember your custody order

If you took away one lesson from the recent changes in your life, it may be that you cannot predict how things will turn out. One day you and your spouse were exchanging vows and choosing names for your new baby. The next thing you know, you are dividing your assets and arguing over custody schedules.

You may have made many changes and decisions since your divorce. However, if your next big decision involves moving with the children to another area of California or out of the state altogether, you may have some roadblocks to face with your ex-spouse.

Know the law

Relocating after a divorce is a common plan. Your marriage may have taken you far away from family to which you want to return, or you may have an opportunity for a fresh start in your chosen career. No matter your reason for wanting to move, if you and your former partner have a court-ordered custody schedule or a schedule settlement approved by the court, it is important that you understand the laws regarding relocation. Every state has its own rules, but in general, they include the following:

  • You must provide notice to your parenting partner and perhaps others who have a custodial interest in your children, such as grandparents.
  • Your former spouse will have an opportunity to respond, either by granting consent for you to take the children or filing an objection to prevent you from going.
  • You must submit a modification for custody and visitation that provides your children adequate time with their other parent and accounts for travel time and expense.
  • Your reasons for leaving must center on the best interests of the children, not on your personal interests or desires.
  • You should be prepared to defend your reason for leaving, especially if you are taking the children a significant distance or across state lines.
  • The court will not approve your relocation request if it feels you are moving away with the children as an act of retaliation or simply to get away from your ex.

Time is often of the essence. If you have already made plans to leave, you must allow time for your ex to acknowledge your notice and respond. Leaving without notifying your ex may lead to serious legal issues, including the potential for criminal charges or loss of custody. You will certainly want all the support you can get, including the help of a skilled attorney with experience in child custody and relocation matters as they pertain to California parents.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
Fax: 951-686-8195
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