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San Diego Out of State Child Relocation Attorneys

Child Custody and Moving Away or Out of State

There may come a time when one parent decides to move out of the state where the other parent lives. This could be for career reasons, health issues, family reasons, or because the custodial parent is in a new relationship. The California courts understand this is sometimes necessary and generally won’t prevent it. However, the non-moving parent can contest the move and attempt to block it.

If you find yourself in a situation where you want to move a child out of state or prevent your former spouse or partner from taking your child out of state, you need to speak with an experienced San Diego out-of-state child relocation lawyer. The Law Office of Thomas M. Huguenor has been successfully representing San Diego parents for 35 years. You want to do what’s best for your child, and attorney Thomas M. Huguenor can help you make that happen. For a free case evaluation, call (858) 458-9500.

How Do California Courts Decide a Child Can Be Moved Out of State?

In general, California courts allow a parent with sole custody of a child to move out of state unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move would be harmful to the child or children. When parents have joint custody of a child or children, and one parent wants to move them out of state and the other objects, the parent that intends to move must show the courts that the move is in the child or children’s best interests.

When considering whether moving out of state is in a child’s best interests, California courts consider:

  • The parent’s motive for moving the child out of state (he or she must show that the reason for the move is legitimate and not just to take the child away from the other parent).
  • How far away the child will be moving.
  • The relationship between the child and both the moving parent and the left-behind parent.
  • How the move will affect the child’s relationship with the left-behind parent.
  • How the move will benefit the child.
  • How the move will affect the child’s social life and education.

The Process: How to Petition for an Out-of-State Move

The parent requesting the relocation will file a "request for order" along with a supporting declaration with the San Diego family court. The declaration must be detailed and specific, explaining to the court why, how, when, and where exactly you will be moving, and why this move is in the child’s best interests. The court will schedule a series of evidentiary hearing to weigh the evidence and decide.

Meanwhile, the other parent must be served with a copy of the filed paperwork. He or she has the right to object to the move, but the burden of proof rests on the objecting parent. He or she must show that either the move is detrimental to the child, or that the moving parent has "bad-faith" reasons for taking the child away. The judge will ultimately grant or deny the move-away order. Parents with sole custody have a better chance of gaining a move-away order.

If you wish to relocate with your child, there are things you can do to help your case. Before proceeding with an out-of-state relocation request in family court, get concrete details down about the reason for the move, the specific location of the move, and benefits to the child. Also, if possible, work out a coparenting plan that keeps your child’s relationship with the other parent intact after the move. The courts strongly encourage a relationship between the child and both parents.

Modification of Custody and Visitation Agreements in San Diego

In California, a child cannot be moved out of state without a court order. Moving a child out of state also requires a modification of the custody and visitation agreements - especially if you share custody. Court orders and custody and visitation agreement modification will require that you negotiate with the other parent through an experienced San Diego child custody lawyer.

Contact Child Relocation Lawyers at The Law Office of Thomas M. Huguenor

Even amicable divorces can become hostile when an argument arises over moving a child out of state, so it’s important that you are fully aware of your rights as a parent. For over three decades, The Law Office of Thomas M. Huguenor has provided legal guidance to Southern California parents who are working on custody agreements or are mired in difficult custody disputes. We understand how much you cherish your relationship with your children and we want to ensure that that relationship remains meaningful and intact.

For a free case evaluation, call a member of our experienced legal team at (858) 224-0754.

Additional Information

(858) 458-9500


11455 El Camino Real, Suite 390
San Diego, California 92130

Office: (858) 458-9500
Fax: (858) 630-2341

Our Firm Services The Following California Areas:
San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach.

Certified family law specialist by the State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization.

The Law Office of Thomas M. Huguenor is a San Diego, California firm practicing exclusively in the area of domestic relations law. We handle a wide range of matters including divorce, child custody, and child support. Whatever your situation we can be of assistance. Feel free to contact us today.

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