What Happens If a Custodial Parent Wants to Relocate?


After a Pasadena divorce, many people find themselves wanting to relocate in search of a fresh start. Sometimes they want to move to be closer to extended family or to accept a new job. If they're remarrying, they may want to move to start a new life with their new spouse.

Simply moving to a new town a few miles away is unlikely to cause any problems. If you want to move out of state, however, you may face a legal battle.

In California, parents with sole custody have a presumptive right to move with their children. This means that you will be allowed to move with your child unless your ex can show the court that the move is not in the child's best interests. Showing that a move is detrimental to a child is quite difficult because the possible damage to the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent is not reason enough on its own to prevent the move.

If you have joint custody with your ex, both you and your ex start the process on a level playing feel. You'll need to appear in court at an evidentiary hearing. The judge will look at a number of factors before determining if you'll be allowed to move, including the validity of the reason for the move, the distance of the move, possible effects of the move on the relationship between the child and his or her other parent, and how the move will affect the child's academic and emotional needs. Whether or not you have a plan to help minimize the impact of the move on the child's relationship with his or her other parent will also be considered, so it's in your best interest to appear proactive and eager to help work out a suitable custody arrangement.

Children age fourteen and up must be allowed to testify at a relocation hearing. A child under the age of fourteen can be allowed to testify if the court finds it appropriate. The judge won't necessarily rule in favor of the child's preference, but his or her wishes will be taken into consideration as long as it appears that the child has not been unduly influenced by one parent.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are in need of representation for a custody-related issue. Our skilled Pasadena family law lawyers are eager to advocate for the best interests of both you and your child.