Attorney Steven E. Springer at desk


Steven E. Springer June 9, 2016

Van full of boxesIn the American population, it is very common for families to move. It is highly unlikely that you will spend your entire life in same town that you were born in. In the 2010 census, it was shown that only 59 perenct of the population still lived in the same state even that they were born in. So what happens to these families after a divorce happens? With a high mobility rate accompanied by a high divorce rate, there must be a resolution that all of these families have discovered. How does divorce affect relocation?


Relocation does not always mean that they are moving permanently. Occasionally it can be for a vacation or travel. If a parent is interested in traveling with the children, the other parent must approve. This is especially true if the traveling involves leaving the country or the contiguous United States. A few other items that you will want to consider before setting out for your new vacation are:

  • Interference with the court mandated visitation schedule;

  • Passports require signatures from both parents;

  • Travel security if the other parent is a dual citizen; and

  • The Hague Convention which applies to minors and in countries that agreed to the Hague Convention.


In a situation in which divorced parents are moving to different states, the law is ever-adjusting and it is always beneficial to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are following the most up to date regulations.

  • Sole Custody: If a parent has been granted sole custody, which is also known as primary physical custody in a court of law, then that parent has absolute authority to move to another state if they see fit. If the non-custodial parent determines that it is not in the best interest of the children involved, then they may object to it if they can prove that a move would be more harmful than beneficial to the children involved.

  • Joint Custody: If during the divorce and custody arrangements it was determined and ordered that custody be split between two parents, this is known as joint custody. If a parent wants to move out of the current residential state with the children, then they must show that it is in the children’s best interest to move.

It is a critical decision when you are deciding child custody arrangements to put the correct “label” on the arrangement. Typically, a judge will follow the rules of the label itself rather than the actual provisions inside of the agreement. It is also important to realize that a move of this nature may also have dramatic impacts on the visitation agreement and that should be revisited before any move is complete.

If you are thinking of either traveling or moving with your children and it will require that the children be separated from the other biological parent, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer. If something is done incorrectly, then it may potentially result in the loss of your current custodial rights In order to protect yourself and your children, you owe it to yourself to find someone with the experience and the know-how to help you through this process. With more than 30 years of combined experience, we have helped many people navigate the same situation you are in right now. If you would like to discuss your options with a skilled San Jose family lawyer, contact us today. We have offices conveniently located in Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Fremont. Call us at 408-779-4700 or 510-791-7137 for your free initial 20-minute consultation.