Move-Away Cases in California

A California divorce case is complicated enough without one parent needing to move away. If you do need to move a child to a new city, state or country after a divorce, such as due to job relocation, it is important to consult with an attorney. These are highly complex cases that require guidance from a skilled divorce attorney in San Diego.


Can I Move Away in the Middle of a Divorce?


If you get relocated or need to move away for another reason in the middle of your divorce case, this can make things more complicated. Each state has residency requirements when filing for divorce. In California, the law requires the filing party to have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing.


You must also have lived for at least three months in the county where you file for divorce. If you move away in the middle of your divorce, it could interfere with residency requirements. These laws are very complicated and should be discussed with a family lawyer in San Diego.




What Is Taken Into Account During Move-Away Cases?


You have a move-away case if you have joint or sole custody of a child after a divorce, but you have to move far enough away that it will potentially disrupt your custody agreement. If your move will impact your current custody arrangement, you will need to bring your move-away case to court to figure out a solution that works for everyone involved.


According to California Family Code Section 7501, a parent with custody may only move away with a child with permission from either the other parent or the courts. You and your co-parent or the courts must create a new custody or parenting time agreement before you can move. If you cannot resolve your move-away case with your ex-spouse, the matter will go to a judge. The courts in San Diego will take the following factors into account during move-away cases:


  • Best interest of the child. The child’s best interests are always at the heart of any custody matter. Determining what is in the best interest of the child requires an in-depth look into how the move might affect his or her mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
  • Distance of proposed move. How far away you plan to move will also affect your case. If it is far enough away that the child cannot maintain frequent and continuing contact with both you and your ex-spouse, this can make it more difficult to move while keeping the same custody arrangement.
  • Potential harm from the move. If moving away would prove detrimental to the child’s connections with his or her family, friends and community, or interfere with the child’s medical needs, a judge may rule against the parent requesting to move away.


In California, a parent cannot relocate with a child without the other parent’s permission or a court order. Under California Penal Code Section 278.5, this is a crime that can come with up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail. If your ex-spouse tries to move away with your child without permission from you or the courts, you have the right to take legal action. A family law attorney can help you petition the courts for a resolution that will hold your ex-spouse accountable and protect your child.


When to Contact an Attorney


Move-away and relocation cases are extremely complex. Judges in San Diego rule on these matters on a case-by-case basis. Hiring a move-away attorney can help you navigate related laws and fight for the resolution you desire. Most importantly, a lawyer can do everything possible to protect your child, whether you are the parent seeking a move-away order or the parent seeking to prevent one. Contact Boyd Law to speak to an attorney about your issue today.