After divorce, a parent may choose to move away from the children. This may arise as a result of wishing to be closer to family or starting a new life in a different city. Jobs may also cause a parent to move away.
In California, a judge cannot force a parent to remain in the state. If one parent moves out of state, a judge may need to change the child custody arrangement.
The child’s best interests are central
A judge or mediator will only do what is in the best interest of the child. Usually, it benefits the child to have regular contact with both parents, even if one parent is out of state. It may unfeasible for the child to travel multiple times per month, but school breaks and holidays may offer the child the opportunity to spend more time with the out-of-town parent.
Notify the other party appropriately
California law requires a parent to provide written notice of any intent to move away with the child for a period longer than 30 days. According to the Judicial Branch of California, the moving party should notify the other party at least 45 before days they plan to move. The parents will then negotiate a new custody arrangement or visitation plan. If the nonmoving parent objects, the two parties can set a court date to ask a judge to make a formal determination.
Follow the legal process to ensure that you secure your time with your children, and to make sure you do not violate the other party’s rights as a parent.