In recent years, there have been a number of cases that have come down from the California Supreme Court addressing the right of one parent to move the children out of state. First they made it difficult to move and then they made it easier. Now, it appears that the court has made it almost impossible for a custodial parent to move away with the children. And while the court can’t seem to make up its mind, attorneys continue to disagree about the true meaning of these cases ( what else do they have to do?). To make matters worse, some of our state representatives are currently working on a bill, which if passed, would in essence overturn the latest court decision on the issue ( in English it means that it will again be easier for the custodial parent to move). So while all of these changes are going on, what is a parent to do if they want to move away? More specifically, what do they do when they want to move with the children?

Procedurally if one parent wants to change the residence of the minor children, they must first notify the other parent in writing. Generally such notice needs to be at least thirty days prior to the intended move, but the Judgment could dictate a different time. Then, if the nonmoving parent objects to the move, a motion is brought before the court and the nonmoving parent is entitled to have a psychological evaluation conducted on both parties, their respective new spouses and, of corse, the children.

But, what happens emotionally? After all, we are still dealking with real people with real lives. These are real children, real parents and real feelings. Children are not abstract objects that can be moved in the same manner as a piece of furniture. Moves are stressful for anyone, even when under the best and happiest of circumstances. Can you imagine what it is like for someone who has no control over the situation and is moving away from a loved one? The courts can change their opinion over and over again. And, our state legislatures can put in their two-cent worth with changes to the Family Code. This can continue to happen, and probably will continue to do so, from now until the end of time. But, it does not change the fact that people are people with real lives. And, chrildren are real people with, if they are lucky,two parents.

So, if you are divorced and want to move away from your ex-spouse, think long and hard, what the move may mean to your child / children and their relationship with the other parent. Make certain that your motives are not selfish and that the children’s relationship with the nonmoving parent will not be damaged by the move. And from a legal aspect, make certain that you consult with a family law attorney to assist you with the necessary court orders.