Relocating With Your Child

After a divorce or custody judgment, many people like to move – new home, new start. If you have no children then you can move anywhere you want at any time without notice to the other party. However, if you have children from your marriage or relationship, then moving is not so easy. In Oregon moving with your child is allowed without notice so long as the child does not move more than 60 miles further away from the other parent. While the parenting plan may need to change upon the move because of the distance, the child’s school, or the parents’ work schedules, no advance notice or court permission is needed for such a short-distance move. However, if you desire to move with your child more than 60 miles further away from the other parent, you must give that parent and the court written notice of your intent to move. You must do so a “reasonable” amount of time before the move, which usually means 45-60 days. Once you provide notice then it is up to the other parent to file a motion to modify custody or parenting time and to stop you from moving with the child. This can get tricky because the other party may wait until just before (or even after) the move to file the motion. If that occurs, then the moving party and the child may be ordered to stay in Oregon or ordered to come back to Oregon pending the hearing if the move has already occurred. Given that moves often occur for jobs, this can be logistically difficult and present significant employment and housing problems.

In California the practice is different. Unless the parents agree to the move, the moving party must file a motion seeking to relocate with the child. You must affirmatively ask for permission to move from the Court and you are not allowed to move away until the Court grants your motion.

Neither state is particularly friendly toward moves since the policy of both places is to keep the children geographically near both parents. California has very clear and wide-ranging case law and several enumerated legal standards and factors which govern move cases. Oregon’s case law is much more sparse and often simply relies on the “best interests of the child” standard. No matter which state you’re in, move away cases are rarely settled and almost always proceed to a trial because the parties are inherently unable to compromise on this type of issue. If you need assistance seeking or stopping a move, please call us for a consultation.

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