After the divorce of a California couple, each spouse may move toward a new and different life at his or her own pace. When children are involved, the parents may find their lives revolve around the events and activities most important to the children. However, some factors may have the greatest impact on the parents.
If you are considering relocating with your children, you may feel it is no one's concern but yours. However, depending on your divorce and custody orders, you may have to involve your co-parent in the decision-making process. While you may feel you have little choice but to move, the court may have a different opinion.
A difficult case to make
Every state has specific rules regarding the relocation of children when the parents share custody. If you and your spouse have joint custody, or if your spouse has regular, court-ordered visitation, you do not have the luxury of simply packing up and moving to another part of the state or country.
Plans to move away may come from a variety of factors including these and others:
- The offer of a better job
- The proximity of family and other support systems
- Better educational opportunities
- The relocation of a new spouse
- The desire to have a fresh start
Of course, if these factors benefit you and do not benefit the child, the court may not approve your application for relocation. The main concern of the court is to protect the well-being of the child and to preserve the bond between the child and both parents. Family courts often approach a relocation petition with the assumption that it is not in the child's best interest.
If relocation seems in any way harmful to the child, the court will deny permission to move. To improve the chances of having your petition approved, you can work to ensure the court of the following:
- Adequate parenting time for your former spouse
- Plans for appropriate transportation for the children to be with their other parent
- Better quality of life for your children
- Consent of the children for the move
Working these plans out with your former spouse is ideal. In fact, the sooner you alert your ex of your plans to move, the more favorably the court will likely see your intentions. If the court sees that both parents are in agreement about the move, the chances of approval increase.