What if I want to move with the children?

Sometimes, during or after a divorce, my client may decide to move away from San Diego. The most frequent reasons I hear are that my client can no longer afford to live in San Diego, have family/friends elsewhere, or received a great job offer out of San Diego.

When there are no children involved, a party is free to move. However, things become complicated there are minor children involved and the moving party wants to move with the children.

Whether you are the one requesting to move, or opposing a request to move, it is important to consult or retain an experienced San Diego divorce attorney. Once divorce proceeding have begun, both parties are automatically restrained from removing the minor children from the State (and usually the County once temporary custody orders are entered) without written consent of the other party or court order.

If the non-moving party objects to the move, then the party requesting the move must file a motion requesting to move-away and the court will determine whether to grant the request. The court bases its decision on many factors, including:

• The reason for the proposed move;
• Whether the move is to frustrate the other parent’s contact with the minor children;
• The children’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement;
• The distance of the move;
• The age of the children;
• The children’s relationship with both parents;
• The extent to which the parents currently are sharing custody.
• The nature of the child’s existing contact with both parents;
• The relationship between the parents including, their ability to communicate and cooperate effectively and their willingness to put the interests of the children above their individual interests;
• The wishes of the children if they are mature enough;
• The child’s community ties;
• The child’s health and educational needs;
• The child’s circle of friends; and • The child’s particular sports or academic activities within a school or community.

Often, when a request to move-away is granted, the non-moving party’s time with the child(ren) increases in the summers and during holidays. If the request is denied, the court cannot prevent the party that requested the move from moving, however, that party cannot move with the child(ren). If the party still wants to move, the court still fashion a visitation schedule with ample summer and holiday time for the moving party.