Can I Move During a Divorce?

One of the common questions that we get from people is: “Can I move during a divorce?” Now the answer to this question certainly depends a lot on each person’s situation and also depends on whether they’re looking to move 10 minutes, 1 hour or 10 hours away from where they live now.  The answer also differs depending on whether the parties have minor children together or not. I’ll address some of the situations where moving during a divorce comes up and when it may or may not be something you can do at that time, and if you want to talk with one of our mediators more about whether you can move, please contact West Coast Family Mediation Center.

If you don’t have children together, then the answer to whether you can move during a divorce is much more likely to be an easier yes then if you do, however, there are still things to think about. First off, to file for divorce in San Diego, at least one of the parties has to have lived in San Diego for at least three months and California for at least six months before you meet the residency requirement. If you haven’t filed for divorce yet and you’re the only one living in San Diego, you need to do a few things. If you want to file here, then you may need to wait to move until after you’ve filed. Once the case is filed, you aren’t required to remain in the county or state. However, if you’re in litigation, then your hearings will be in the court in which you filed in so you may want to consider that before filing or moving if the case is already in a specific court.

Additionally, if you’re going to move and you and the other party own a home together, it’s something that you may need to discuss as to who’s going to stay in the house. If you guys are going to sell or keep the house, then you need to understand who’s going to be responsible for the costs associated with the home as well as getting it on the market if you’re going to sell. These are things that can be discussed quickly in mediation. These topics are important to talk about, so no one has different expectations.

If you do have children together, then the answer to being able to move is a bit harder and is a lot more dependent on where you want to move. Once the petition is filed, neither party can take the children out of San Diego County without permission or agreement from the other person. If you’re looking to move out of the county, then the answer is probably not unless you guys agree.  However, if you want to move within the county, then you possibly can.

It’s still important to discuss with the other parent, especially if you’re moving somewhere that’s much farther away and potentially even in another school district. When one parent moves a substantial distance away from the other parent, this affects not only the parents but also the children who might end up spending much more time in the car driving back and forth between homes, and this may not make a parenting plan that you had discussed possible.

Again, it’s essential to discuss what a move may mean for the children and how you can work with the other parent to make sure that it works for both of you. Now we understand that this may make you feel like you have to “get permission” from the other parent to live somewhere else. It’s not about permission if you’re remaining in the county and more making sure that the situation is best for the kids.

Ultimately, the most important thing I would stress is to talk about any move with the other party before you do it so that everyone is on the same page and no issue later comes up with you moving.

Talking about the move will mean that you’re less likely to fight about something in the future. If you need assistance having this discussion or want to discuss more regarding: “Can I move during a divorce?” Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center.

by: Amanda Singer

Amanda Singer with west coast family mediation center

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