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Relocating with your children after a divorce

After a divorce, your life may change rapidly. Suddenly, you are living in a new place, or at least your home has a very different feel to it. Your finances may be tighter. Your daily and weekly schedule may be different because you have a custody agreement in place. You may also decide that a much more radical change is in order.

If you are considering moving with the children away from the Los Angeles area, you should be aware that it may not be as easy as packing and going. In fact, there are several matters to take care of before making your final arrangements to leave.

Burden of proof

If you have primary physical custody of your child, California laws protect your right to relocate with the children. However, your former spouse may contest your plans to leave, which means you will have to remain until the courts resolve the matter.

The non-custodial parent will have to prove that the move will be damaging to the children. While this may relieve you of the burden of providing evidence that your decision to move will benefit the children, you may be able to solidify your argument if you can show some of the advantages the move will have for your family, for example:

  • Better schools
  • Special educational services that current schools do not provide
  • Proximity to your extended family
  • Better opportunities for you to provide for them
  • More stable environment

The other parent of your children will likely want reassurance that he or she will not lose contact with the children after your move. You may be able to assuage any concerns your ex and the court may have if you present a plan for modifying the custody or visitation orders, including suggestions for how the children will travel to spend time with their other parent.

Preparing for the hearing

One way you can help your cause includes keeping a log of the other parent's interaction with the children. If he or she misses scheduled visits, fails to contact them on birthdays or special occasions, or in other ways shows indifference to the existing custody order, this may tip the court in your favor.

You may also find it helpful to enlist the aid of an attorney who has experience in relocation efforts. You may obtain solid advice and guidance for presenting a successful case to the court.

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