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Beware Of The Relocated Spouse - Thursday, August 20 2009

With the uncertain economy many people are moving out of California.  In the divorce world this is significant when children are involved.  We are hearing from more and more clients that one parent proposes leaving the state, with the children, to relocate closer to family and look for a job.  The other parent might move at the same time or stay behind to continue to work an existing job while the relocated parent looks for work.  In both situations we have seen the following:  the stay behind parent decides not to move or one parent decides they do not want to live closer to family after all.  In these cases child custody and visitation issues are complicated if the children havce been relocated to the new state (or county) for more than 6 months.  In that instance, jurisdiction over the children my rest with a court in their new state and the stay behind/moving back parent is faced with litigating custody and visitation issues in the other state.  Worst case scenario, the moving parent received a unopposed move away based on the intitial agreement of the parents.  6 months is not a long period of time and the stay behind/returning parent needs to be prepared to file the appropriate action in court should the relocated parent try to stay away with the children.    

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