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Know your legal options if you want to move away

We are a mobile society, and moving is a part of many people's lives, whether it is for business or pleasure. While it can already be a stressful situation, moving can become far more complicated if you share custody or have primary custody of your kids. Under these circumstances, you will need to secure the permission of California courts before you move.

Depending on how far your move will take you, you could have some very big decisions to make. 

  1. Are you willing to give up time with your children? If you move to another state or country, the courts may not allow you to take your kids with you if they determine that such a move is not in their best interests. 
  2. Would you consider alternative means of visitation? If you move away from your kids, could "virtual visitation" and other means of staying close help you feel better about being away from your kids?
  3. Are you prepared to fight your ex? A parent has the right to protest a move, requiring the parent who wants to move to show that the move would be in the best interests of the child, which can be very difficult.

Of course, these may not become issues if your move keeps you close enough to maintain your existing parenting schedule, or if a move would require minimal adjustments to the balance of parenting time.

However, it would be a mistake to assume that moving away with your kids or when you share custody of your kids, even when it's a short distance or required for work, is going to be without complications.

It would also be a mistake -- a very big mistake -- to take your children without permission. If you do this, you can be facing charges of kidnapping and loss of parental rights.

If you are thinking about moving with or without your children, it would be wise to consult an attorney to discuss your legal options. Doing so sooner than later can help you get a plan in place and secure the necessary permissions. It can also help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your parental rights and the well-being of your kids.

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