Can You Move Away With Your Kids?

A major part of getting through your divorce is moving on in your life with your ex-spouse no longer being a part of it. That may mean moving away from Los Angeles to find a new job, be closer to family or just pursue new opportunities. Yet how are you able to do that if you and your ex have children together? 

The law recognizes the importance of children having continued contact with both of their parents. However, if you have primary custody of your children, California's Family Code states that you have the right to determine where their residence will be. This allows you to move away with your kids if you so choose. Your ex-spouse may dispute the move, but in order to modify your custody agreement to accommodate for it, he or she will have to show that you moving away would be harmful for your children. 

Still, the court may view you wanting to leave as you not recognizing the important role your ex-spouse still plays in your kids' lives. Thus, you may increase the chances of your being permitted to move without modifying your custody agreement if you are able to work with your ex-spouse to get his or her consent. This will likely include coming up with a visitation schedule that does not place a majority of the burden of travel costs on him or her. 

What if you share joint custody? The Judicial Branch of California states that the court looks at the actual time your kids spend with you and your ex when determining custody, not the exact language of your agreement. Thus, if it finds the kids spend a majority of time with you, it may determine you do indeed have primary custody and therefore afford you the opportunity to move.