Photo of Nathalie E. A. Paluch and Peter A. Lauzon

Can one parent move from CA to another state with a child?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Blog, Family Law |

When a parent contemplates relocating with a child outside of California, certain legal considerations come into play.

It is important to understand the factors that influence a judge’s decision in such cases. The implications for both parents and the child are also necessary to consider.

Guidelines for relocation

About 21.8% of the population of California is younger than 18 years. Generally, a parent can change a child’s residence as long as it does not interfere with existing custody and visitation orders. However, the moving parent must give proper notice to the other parent before the move. In cases where relocation significantly affects the custody and visitation arrangement, a court order may be necessary.

Court permission

The likelihood of a judge permitting a child’s relocation depends on several factors, primarily the type of physical custody the moving parent holds. If a parent has sole physical custody, the judge is more likely to allow the move unless the other parent demonstrates potential harm to the child. In cases of joint physical custody, the moving parent must prove that the relocation is in the child’s best interest.


In cases without a permanent custody order, judges consider various factors to make a decision based on the child’s best interest. These factors include the existing custody arrangement, the co-parenting relationship and the child’s age. The distance of the move is important too, as a longer distance may hinder regular visits.

Relocating with a child outside of California involves complex legal considerations. Understanding the guidelines and factors influencing these decisions is necessary for parents navigating the complexities of a potential move.