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Child Relocation

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What is the name of your state? My brother lives in California. He has joint legal and physical custody of his daughter. The mother is the primary. He pays her $600-700 month for child support. His ex-wife has given him a 45 day Notice of Out of State Relocation to move from California to Florida. If he wants to fight this so she can not move that far away, what is his recourse and what steps should he take?



Tell him to look at his existing custody order. If it's in there, there will be a clause about 'domicile' or 'moveaway'. Something to the effect of the location of the child's primary residence.

If there's nothing there, then he will have to file for an amendment to the custody order stipulating such. He may not get it but even if he doesn't, he can file for an amendment to the visitation order requiring the mother to pay all costs involved in the father exercising his visitation rights.


Would he have to go to a lawyer or get an attorney to get the order amended or is that something a mediator could take care of?


He better get his butt to an attorney. Because I can tell you what's going to happen.

The moment ex is in Florida and the second she is a "legal resident" she is going to file to have the custody order 'domesticated' which means that instead of her having to travel back to California every time there is a dispute, HE will have to travel to Florida. Because the florida courts will have taken over jurisdiction.

If he lets this happen then he won't have much of a chance to change anything any more because he'll be operating under Florida law.

And a mediator can't do this. Only a judge can.


thanks for your help!!!! By the way, how long does this usually take ... is there anything he can do to keep her in the state until they go to court?


Hex---I don't want to still this thread but do you know what it takes to get a case "domesticated" to the state where the CP and child now reside?

Thanks and sorry OP.


Wendy, that depends on how long the court takes to hear the case. You still haven't told me if there is anything in the custody order granting her permission to leave.

Until you tell me that all the rest of the questions and answers will have to wait.

SRS, It depends on a lot of things, most notably where you reside and in which state the original order is from.

The first thing you have to do is qualify as a resident of the state in which the order is to be domesticated. After that, the originating state jurisdiction must relenquish jurisdiction over the case. And that's not a given.

Once this happens then you can file the order in your local court.

But, please call the local courthouse for their specific requirements. As I said, this is like asking how many times you beat your (fill in the blank). There's no "RIGHT" answer. Just a right process.


Under the Radar Member
hexeliebe said:
the originating state jurisdiction must relenquish jurisdiction over the case. And that's not a given.
This is the main point. More often than not, IF ONE OF THE PARTIES STILL RESIDES IN THE ORIGINATING STATE, the originating state will not relinquish jurisdiction. This really is a reasonable stance, to be honest, as it forces the parent who moves to have to return to the originating state for hearings rather than forcing the parent who did not move to travel to the new state.


New California Move-Away Law Hurts Children of Divorce
By Glenn Sacks

Although almost completely lost in the events surrounding the recall election, California Governor Gray Davis just signed a misguided bill which will seriously undermine the welfare of California's children of divorce.

Senate Bill 156, which was passed by the legislature in September, grants a custodial parent the presumptive right to move children away from their noncustodial parent after a divorce. In so doing the law will allow the bonds between tens of thousands of children and their parents to be disrupted or destroyed.

Since the 1996 Burgess decision, California custodial parents, usually mothers, have been able to move children unless objecting fathers are able to demonstrate that the move would prejudice their children's rights or welfare. The lower courts have interpreted Burgess, which involved only a 40 mile move within the state, to permit moves of hundreds or thousands of miles. In some cases, these courts have even allowed children to be moved out of the country, as far away as New Zealand and Zaire.

In August of last year, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously to revisit the move-away issue by hearing the LaMusga case, in which a Contra Costa County custodial mother sought to move to Arizona with her two young boys and her new husband. The boys' father fought to block the move, arguing that it would be harmful to his children because it would damage their relationship with him. This summer the mother went ahead with the move in defiance of a court order.

The father is unable to follow his children to Arizona because he operates a business in Northern California and has stiff child support obligations. This is a common problem for noncustodial fathers, whose financial obligations often chain them to their jobs in the original locale while they are powerless to prevent their children from being moved far away from them.

By successfully sponsoring SB 156, misguided women's organizations such as the California National Organization for Women and the California Women's Law Center have largely closed the door on the move-away issue before the California Supreme Court could decide LaMusga. SB 156 amends Section 7501 of the Family Code to specifically "affirm the decision in In re: Marriage of Burgess...and to declare that ruling to be the public policy and law of this state."

While even an intact family's move can be disruptive for children, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, post-divorce move-aways can be particularly damaging. The study found that among 14 variables related to a young adult's overall well-being, move-away status was correlated to long-term, negative consequences in 11 of them.

These negative consequences include: greater inner turmoil and distress from parents' divorce; more hostility in interpersonal relationships; negative feelings towards their parents; greater conflict between divorced parents; and greater problems in general life satisfaction and personal and emotional adjustment.

The study, conducted from a pool of 2,067 college students enrolled in an introductory level class at a large university, may even understate the damage of move-aways. As the survey's authors point out, many of the children most damaged by divorce and alienation from their noncustodial parents were not measured because they probably never made it as far as college.

Legislation such as SB 156 exemplifies the hypocrisy of the current public policy and discourse on fatherhood, wherein men are lectured to take responsibility for their children while at the same time their right to remain a part of their children's lives is often limited.

Gary, a Riverside, California noncustodial father of two, believes that move-aways wound children. He says:

"Before my divorce I devoted my life to my two girls. I coached their softball teams, volunteered on their school field trips, and took them to and from school every day. We were very close. After the divorce my wife quickly remarried and moved our kids out of state against my will. My relationship with my girls has been severely disrupted and may never be repaired. How could this be in the best interests of my children?"

This column first appeared in the Daily Breeze (Los Angeles) (10/28/03).

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