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Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

How Do California Courts Handle Move-Away Custody Cases?

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmA “move-away case” involves the custodial parent moving far away from the non-custodial parents which disrupts the custodial agreements established by the court. The distance does not matter as long as the agreement is interrupted.

Move-away cases are hard to deal with because it can be an unfair effect on custodial rights for the non-custodial parent. The request to move away from the other parent can have negative impact on the child as well. Unless there are clear violations by the non-custodial parents, move-away requests by the custodial parent can be dicey situations.

Custody relocation laws

Currently, in California, there are no laws that prohibit parents with sole custody from relocating to a different location. However, custody plans can have specific orders that prevent custodial parents from changing geographical location without the knowledge of the other parent. Parents who wish to relocate with their children should file for a move-away petition with the court. In cases where the judge feels that the child’s life will remained unchanged even after the relocation, a positive judgment will be passed.

On the other hand, a non-custodial parent can relocate any time he/she feels like but without the child. Also, in some cases, non-custodial parents are prohibited from taking their children across the state border without the consent of a judge.

In most cases, when relocation becomes necessary for either of the parent, new custodial plans need to be worked out. The new plans should include provisions for both parents to relocate without changing too much of the custodial agreement.


Mediation works best in cases where parents fail to reach an agreement. Move-away cases require mediation because both parents need to be on the same page before new plans can be made. Divorce mediation is important for both parents as it helps improve understanding between them and provides the best solution.

In cases where the mediation does not work, the court orders for a second hearing. It will go through the case and decide what’s best for the child. If the court feels that relocating won’t affect the child’s health or mental condition, it will award the custodial parent the upper hand.


Move-away issues can be tricky if they are not dealt with proper care. For parents who wish to relocate, new custodial plans must be created by the parties or otherwise by the court. Mediation can play an important role and can help parents decide what’s best for their child.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.



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