Following your Orange-county divorce, you may wish to relocate to a more affordable area or back to your hometown so you can raise your child near family. Despite the numerous pros you can think of for relocating with your child, stop to carefully consider whether your move will trigger a relocation dispute.
If your child’s other parent does not agree to the relocation, you must go through the family court system. Failure to seek permission from the courts can have significant adverse consequences for you. Per FindLaw, a judge will consider several factors before making a decision regarding your relocation request.
The best interests of the child
The courts will always put the bests interests of the child above all else. If the judge determines that a move will not benefit the best interests of your child, he or she will likely deny your request. However, if the opposite is true, he or she may go on to consider other factors, such as whether you have a good faith reason for wanting to relocate. Good faith reasons include but are not limited to starting a new job that pays better; living in an area with a better cost of living; living closer to family; and continuing your education.
The existence of presumptions in your favor
In some cases, presumptions exist that make the decision process more cut and dry. For instance, if you and your ex included a relocation provision in your child custody agreement and, per that provision, you have full permission to relocate given that you propose a fair visitation schedule, your ex has little grounds to stand on. Read your agreement carefully. It may also say, in so many words, that you can relocate your child long-distance so long as you give the other parent enough advanced notice.
Many custody agreements also allow for child custody relocations based on distance. Your order may grant you permission to move anywhere within the county or to an adjacent county. Likewise, it may allow you to move up to 100 miles from the presiding court. The existence of presumptions will make it much easier for you to establish your case for relocating.