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Can my kids and I move out of state after my divorce?

Getting a promotion is great for your career, but if you are a divorced California parent, that promotion may prove to be a problem if it requires you to move out of state with your children. Before doing anything else, reread your divorce decree. Does it grant you primary physical custody of your children? Does it contain any restrictions about how far away you can move with them after your divorce?

If you have primary physical custody, a/k/a permanent sole physical custody, and your ex-spouse does not object to your upcoming move, most judges routinely grant their permission for your relocation plans. If your ex-spouse objects to your move, however, both of you will need to go to court for a custody hearing. At this hearing, your ex-spouse will attempt to convince the judge that your move is not in the best interests of your children. You, on the other hand, will attempt to convince the judge of just the opposite.

If you and your ex-spouse have joint physical custody of the children, again (s)he must agree to your upcoming move or you face a possibly contentious and acrimonious custody hearing.

New parenting plan

As with your divorce and original parenting plan, the ability of you and your now ex-spouse to work together in the best interests of your children is the greatest asset that either of you can have. If at all possible, do your best to work out a new parenting plan with him or her that takes into consideration the following:

  • The distance away from “home” that you and your children now will live
  • The transportation arrangements and costs to which you and your ex-spouse agree regarding your children’s travel back and forth between the two of you
  • The increased parenting time your ex-spouse now will have with the children during such times as their summer school vacations, holidays, etc.

The more easily and cooperatively you and your ex-spouse can arrive at a realistic new parenting plan, the easier it will be for you make this move in peace, knowing that your children will not suffer because of it.

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