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Can I move out of state with my child after my divorce?

Just when your post-divorce California life seemed to be settling into a “new normal,” your employer offered you a marvelous promotion. The hitch? You must move to a new state. Since you have children, you now may be wondering what hassle, if any, you need to go through so you can move your kids out of state with you.

As the California courts system explains, the first thing you should do is reread your divorce decree to verify what type of custody you have and determine if there are any restrictions regarding a post-divorce relocation. Assuming you have permanent sole physical custody of your children, a/k/a primary physical custody, usually you can move out of state with them if your ex-spouse agrees to the move. If (s)he objects to your move, (s)he must go to court and convince the judge that this move will somehow harm the children. You, on the other hand, must present convincing counter arguments showing how your move is in your children’s best interests as well as yours.

Joint physical custody

If you and your ex-spouse share joint physical custody of your children, then you definitely need his or her permission to move. Without it, you face what could be a contentious custody hearing.

New parenting plan

Your best strategy is to inform your ex-spouse about your proposed move as soon as possible so that the two of you have time to draft a new parenting plan that takes the following into consideration:

  • How far away you and your children will live
  • Transportation arrangements for your children’s travel back and forth between parents
  • Possible increased holiday and/or summer vacation time your children will spend with their other parent to make up for his or her loss of current parenting time

This is educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin
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Palo Alto, CA 94303-3220

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