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After divorce, can I and my children move away from my ex-spouse?

After divorce, the instinct to pack up and move far away from the source of bad memories or traumatic separations can be entirely natural. You may want to move to another town, or you may want to vacate California completely. When there are children and custody matters involved in the divorce, however, weighing anchor and setting sail for new horizons may not be so easy. If you have children when your ex-spouse, can you just pack up and move your children away from your former partner?

The answer can't be broken down to a simple yes or no, but the common factor in all cases is that this isn't a decision you can make on your own. The California Judicial Branch outlines several scenarios called move-away situations, and how they may be addressed based on certain conditions and contingencies.

Perhaps the easiest case is if you have sole physical custody of your child or children as primary caretaker. Then, it is on your ex-spouse to persuade the courts that the move is not in your offspring's best interests. In joint custody cases, however, it is you who must provide the burden of proof to the courts if your ex-spouse declares he or she does not want your child to move. You must demonstrate to the courts that this move is in the best interests of the child's health, well-being and quality of life. Both of these instances can change yet further still in the case of temporary versus permanent custody agreements, and in the case of mutually agreed upon parenting and custody plans.

This blog is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should be taken only as a reference.

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