Former spouses or romantic partners often experience intense disagreements when they share custody of their children after a divorce. Shared custody has become the standard expectation, in all but the most extreme of family circumstances.
You and your ex should abide by the custody order and also try your best to support each other as co-parents. Unfortunately, the reality of shared custody often does not live up to the ideal of co-parenting. Some people will even go to great lengths to try to limit how much time their kids spend with their ex or how frequently they have to exchange custody.
Moving out of California would be one way for a parent to deny their ex access to the children. Can your ex just leave the state with your kids after your divorce or a breakup that resulted in the shared custody order?
Your custody order limits relocations with the kids
A divorced parent may need to make difficult decisions about how to support themselves and their children. Sometimes, they need to look for new employment. Other times, they have to look into new housing arrangements, like living with parents until they find a better job.
You and your ex have the right to try to improve your circumstances after divorce, but that does not necessarily mean that either of you can move out of California with the children. Your custody order will likely have a specific limitation on any parental relocation or move with the children.
If either parent intends to move so far away that it will affect the visitation or parenting access of the other, then approval is necessary for the move. Your ex will have to notify you and the court about their intention to relocate. If you dispute their request to move, then you will have to have a custody hearing to determine the next step.
The best interests of the children will always be the guiding concern
If you litigated your previous custody order, you probably recall that the best interests of the children determine everything from where they live to which parents have decision-making authority. The needs of the children will influence how the courts look at a relocation request and how they modify custody when a parent opposes a relocation.
Understanding your rights as a parent and how the courts make major decisions can help you better respond to a stressful child custody dispute.