Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP
Menlo Park
San Ramon

When your ex wants to move away with the kids

You may have thought there was no more helpless feeling than the one you experienced as the court ruled on your custody arrangement during your divorce. The precious time you share with your children became even more important after you were limited by a court order, even if the time was split equitably between you and your former spouse.

However, you are now feeling a new level of helplessness since your ex-spouse notified you of his or her intentions to move away with the children to another city or away from California altogether. While it is reasonable to feel like the situation is out of your control, knowing your rights in a relocation situation may help you make wise moves to protect your custody privileges.

The burden of proof

Your spouse may have valid and understandable reasons for wanting to move away. In fact, the court will want to know what those reasons are and whether they will benefit your children. To move away just to spite you or to punish you will not win favor with family court. However, the court may find that any of the following reasons carry enough weight to warrant a move:

  • Your ex has a promising job offer.
  • Your ex has remarried, and his or her spouse has work in another area.
  • Your spouse wants to move closer to his or her family for support and help with the children.
  • The schools in the new region are superior to the ones your children currently attend.
  • The neighborhood where your children currently live is not as safe as the one in the new area.
  • Your children have special needs or interests that their current living situation cannot accommodate.

The burden of proving that such a move will benefit and not harm your children will be on your former spouse, but you can help your cause by preparing for the hearing. Some of the factors you may want to explore include the preference of the children for remaining in their familiar neighborhood and schools. The court will consider this if your children are old enough.

The courts will also be interested in knowing how your spouse intends to protect your parenting rights and whether your children will lose time to bond with you because of the distance the move will place between you. With the assistance of an experienced legal advocate, you can prepare a case that may alleviate some of the helplessness you are feeling and give you a fighting chance to preserve your parental rights.

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