Planning to Relocate After Divorce? Know the Law.

No one starts a family knowing that one day they’ll want to split up with the father or mother of their children. Unfortunately, divorces do happen, and parents must make difficult decisions about how to raise their children in two different households.


To complicate matters, after a divorce, it may be nearly impossible to continue living in the same area. You might be finding it difficult to live in your current city on a single income. Maybe you’ve been offered a great job in a new location. You might simply wish you lived closer to your own family. These are all understandable reasons for relocation of children after divorce. However, as far as the California courts are concerned, you cannot simply pick up and move. You and your ex-spouse must work out a new custody or visitation plan, and in some cases you may not be permitted to relocate. A skilled family lawyer can help you make a plan for you and your children.

Factors To Consider Before Relocation of Children After Divorce

Before the courts weigh in, you must tell your ex-partner about your plans to move and attempt to reach a new custody agreement. If you have full or partial custody of your children and your ex-partner doesn’t oppose your plans to move, then the court will typically have no problem with this (barring any restrictions on travel imposed during your divorce). If, however, you and your ex-partner disagree, you may need to appear in court to gain approval from a judge. The most important issue for the court is promoting the wellbeing of the child. To that end, a judge will consider:


  • How much the move will disrupt the child’s physical, educational and emotional development. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, a move can be very disruptive.
  • Any new resources or a better quality of life that may be available to the child as a result of a move. That is, simply being offered a new job isn’t in and of itself a good enough reason for you to move with your child. However, if increased income allows you to provide a significantly better life for your child, a judge may agree.
  • How the move will impact the child’s ability to maintain a relationship with the other parent.
  • The respective level of involvement of each parent in the child’s life, and the involvement of other family members in your current location (grandparents, siblings, etc.)

Getting Help From a Family Lawyer

If you are planning to relocate children after divorce, it is important to have an experienced family lawyer on your side. In the best case scenario, you will be able to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent through mediation. If not, then you will need to present a convincing case to the judge about why relocation is what is best for your child. At Omar Gastelum Law and Associates, we can help you through every step of the process so that you and your children can turn over a new page. Contact us to schedule a meeting with our talented team.