When Does Relocating a Child Make Sense under CA Family Law?

Pleasanton CA divorce attorneyAfter divorce, the living arrangements and family configuration can change drastically for all family members. As someone sets out to restart his or her new life, they might find it worthwhile to relocate to a different state or even different country altogether. While a person is certainly free to do as they wish post-divorce, things become much more complicated if they plan to bring any children in tow. 

Courts can’t and won’t entirely block parents from relocating to another state away from the other parent’s residence, but relocation cases are complex legal affairs. Here, the family law courts weigh a variety of factors to consider whether relocating is being done in good faith, or whether they need to step in and deny the request in order to protect the interest of the child along with the other parent. 

Today, we’re looking at how this decision is made as well as discussing which reasons for relocating are considered valid and aligned with the child’s best interests.

What Factors Determine Whether a Relocation is Good for a Child?

Under CA family law, a parent who wishes to relocate with their child needs to notify the other parent if the relocation is going to be longer than 30 days. A parent has 45 days to notify the other parent before the move, which gives the other parent to file an objection or work out alternate custody arrangements as required. 

In cases where the other parent objects, the courts may be required to step in and help assess whether the relocation is acceptable. Factors that go into whether the move is “acceptable” or not include:


  • The distance of the relocation
  • The impact or potential for interruption in the child’s daily life
  • The impact that the move could have on the child’s relationship with family members
  • The child’s age 
  • The nature of the child’s relationship with family members on all sides of the family
  • Whether the move promotes the child’s development and well-being
  • The potential for distress or harm from the relocation, or lack of
  • Each parents’ ability to communicate and co-parent effectively

Talk to a Family Law Attorney Today

Needless to say, the family law courts do not take relocations with a child lightly, especially when the other parent or involved family members object. That said, there are many valid reasons as to why a parent might want to move with their child post-divorce, and it’s doubly important that this is made apparent to the family law courts.

If you want to learn more about this topic, and to consult with a family law attorney who can help you strategize with these or other related matters, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Count on us at the White Oak Law for all your family law matters in CA.

Connect with our team of legal experts at 925-271-0999 to learn more about how we can help.