Do I Need to Add a Moving Clause To My California Custody Agreement?

Do I Need to Add a Moving Clause To My California Custody Agreement?

Do I Need to Add a Moving Clause To My California Custody Agreement?During a California divorce, it can be extremely difficult for couples to reach agreements on decisions related to the future of their children, such as issues related to child support, child custody, and visitation. This process can be emotionally distressing for both parties involved.

On top of that, the topic of relocation often arises, as some parents may wish to move cities or states based on new life prospects.

In particular, California offers many new opportunities across the state, and many prompt parents to want to move. When drafting and executing a custody agreement, it’s important to take this into account and consider adding a “moving clause” to the custody arrangement.

What Is a California Child Custody Arrangement?

To go into detail about what a moving clause is, it must be clear what a California child custody arrangement is. Physical and legal child custody are the two types of custody options.

Physical custody covers which parent is going to have the child physically stay with them. Legal custody relates to which parent has a say regarding important issues for the child, such as healthcare, education, and lifestyle.

Both physical and legal custody can be either joint or sole. For sole physical custody, the child will reside permanently with one parent, while joint physical custody means that the child will alternate their time between both homes.

Sole legal custody means one parent will make all of the important decisions about aspects in a child’s life. Joint legal custody, however, means the parents will make the important decisions together.

What a Moving Clause Signifies

In California, as well as other states in the U.S., a parent of a child may try to move locations of their primary home based on opportunities such as job prospects or a new relationship or marriage.

Typically, this right to move is respected, but it can be problematic when it comes to physical joint custody agreements, especially if the distance between the houses of both of the parents is substantial. Moving clauses can help anticipate such dilemmas and help in the following ways:

  • Providing stability. A moving clause can lay out the exact details of how a move of one parent might affect a joint custody arrangement. Not only does this provide clarity for the parents, but it also gives stability to the child so that they know what to expect.
  • Keeping a balance between the interests of the parents and the children. A moving clause can help address each parent’s right to autonomy and to live in an environment that is suitable for their development while respecting the child’s right to grow up in a stable environment as well.
  • Avoiding court battles or helping guide the courts. If there are no clear guidelines about what should happen in the case that a parent moves, then this can become a messy situation in court. Clear guidelines in a moving clause can advise the court on how to proceed.

Overall, adding a moving clause to a custody agreement provides guidance and stability, and it can avoid costly litigation fees down the line. It spells out exactly what will happen to the custody agreement based on factors of the move so that there is no room left for guessing.

How To Write an Effective Moving Clause

To ensure a moving clause in a California custody agreement is valid and thorough, it needs to check certain boxes. Such components that a moving clause should have include:

  • A time of notice. A time of notice or notification period is the specified amount of time a parent has to tell the non-relocating parent that they are moving. This gives time to each parent to discuss what changes will need to be made based on the move.
  • A clear mode of communication. If the relocating parent has primary physical custody, then it’s important to establish how the child and the non-relocating parent will communicate with each other. Examples of lines of communication include visitation schedules and video calls.
  • Custody arrangement changes. A moving clause can include specific details about what changes to a custody arrangement will be triggered in the case that a parent decides to relocate. For example, the amount of days that the child may spend with each parent could be changed.
  • Considerations of transportation. Upon a parent relocating, this will have implications on the cost of transportation to go to and from each house. The costs should be discussed, and it should be decided who will be responsible for paying them.

There should also be a section in the moving agreement that addresses what guidelines should be followed in the case of dispute after the announcement of a relocation plan. This can help avoid conflict and protect the children involved.

Can You Relocate With Your Child After a Divorce in California?


Q: Will the California Courts Approve a Moving Clause?

A: If you and your divorcing spouse have agreed on a moving clause in your child custody agreement, the courts will be likely to agree with it unless it puts the child’s well-being at risk. In the case of a dispute, the court will consider factors such as the age of the child, their needs, and their emotional situation. They will also consider the relationship each parent has with the child.

Q: What Factors Will California Courts Consider During Relocation of One Parent?

A: If the relocation of one divorced parent leads to an unresolved dispute, then the California courts will take into account many factors to come to a resolution. For example, they will consider the distance between two parents that the move will result in, the relocating parent’s reasons for moving, and the overall impact of the move on the child’s well-being.

Q: Can a CA Court Stop Me From Moving as a Divorced Parent With a Child?

A: If you are a divorced parent in California who is trying to relocate, then the court will typically not keep you from moving unless there are outstanding circumstances that could negatively impact the child. Having or modifying a moving clause in your child custody agreement upon divorce can help to avoid high-stress disputes between you and your ex-spouse down the line.

Q: Why Do I Need a Family Lawyer for Child Custody Issues?

A: If you are a parent in California who is getting divorced, it is not required by law to have a family lawyer represent you. However, hiring such legal representation can help ensure you will have certain aspects taken into account that are related to your case, such as the specific circumstances of your living situation.

Planning for Your Family’s Future in California

If you are a California parent who is facing a divorce, it may be important for you to consider a moving clause, as well as other critical sections of a child custody agreement. A family lawyer from Bickford Blado & Botros can help you protect your rights during a divorce, along with the rights and well-being of your children. Contact us today.



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