Relocation is an important aspect of San Diego family law cases. If you have children and are considering a move a significant distance away, even within California, or if your ex or soon-to-be-ex is considering relocation, you may need to consult with a San Diego family law attorney. Even if you no longer reside in California because you relocated after your separation for financial or other reasons, we may be able to represent you in a matter filed in California.

Giving Notice

Once a petition for dissolution is filed, by statute, neither parent may relocate with the child of the marriage without obtaining either the agreement of the other parent (or parents) or a court order.  When an order for custody is made during a dissolution, or in cases where there is no marriage, even when party has sole physical custody (usually defined as 70% or more), normally, the parent seeking relocation must give the other parent at least 45 days’ notice of the proposed change of residence.

In San Diego, if your former spouse or the other parent of the child gives you notice that he or she intends to relocate with the child, you may file a request with the court seeking an order for the child to remain. That request triggers a mediation between the parties and a hearing.  While the court will never interfere with a parent’s constitutionally guaranteed right to relocate, it will determine whether the child may relocate with the parent.

Factors the Court Will Consider


Often, when deciding to allow relocation, the Court will consider many factors including:

  • The health, safety and welfare of the child, including whether either parent has engaged in domestic violence or illegal drug use or drug abuse
  • The child’s interest in the stability and continuity of the current custodial arrangement
  • The distance away from the other parent
  • The ages and wishes of the children, if appropriate
  • The reasons for the move
  • The relationship between the children and each parent
  • The parents’ relationship with each other and their ability to successfully co-parent.



Relocation cases are difficult and nuanced, and often depend not only on facts listed above, but also how the previous custody order was reached. In San Diego relocation cases, you will need sensitive and experienced counsel to guide you, whether you are trying to relocate or attempting to keep your children from moving. Our San Diego family law team has a wealth of experience in both interstate and international custody matters and has particular expertise with the relocation issues faced by military families, including permanent moves as well as deployments and returns from deployment.