One inevitable aspect of every divorce case in California is change. There is the abrupt change that the divorce itself brings, and then the gradual changes that occur as the parties involved progress with their lives. Among those changes may be the eventual opportunity to relocate to a new area.
Many presented with this opportunity come to us here at Miller & Associates, Attorneys LLP asking if they might encounter any legal impediments. The answer to that question depends largely on the nature of one’s custody agreement.
Sole vs. joint physical custody
According to information shared by The Judicial Branch of California, a divorced parent with sole or primary physical custody of their children may relocate at their discretion. The law typically places no restrictions on their ability to move except in special circumstances. Parents sharing joint custody with an ex-spouse, however, must provide proof to the court that the move will be in the children’s best interests. In such cases, the court may not necessarily bar them from moving, but could drastically alter their custody agreement to the point of limiting their time with the kids (if they cannot provide a valid for moving).
Regardless of custody status, a non-relocating parent has the right to petition the court to review a custody arrangement.
Cooperation to ease the stress of moving
Those divorced parents wanting to relocate likely do not want to risk having control of their custody arrangement taken over by the court. Thus, in order to avoid this potential, it may prove to be in their best interest to provide their ex-spouse with ample notice of their intentions. This shows a willingness to cooperate, which may ease the way for the pair to work together to come up with an amended agreement on their own that accommodates both parties.