Kevin Qualls Family Law
Maintaining Professionalism. Preserving Civility. Finding Answers. Practical Guidance On Important Divorce And Custody Matters

Can I take my children out of state?

Whether or not a parent can leave the state of California with his or her children is the source of a lot of confusion, and contention, in the world of family law. Many parents may believe that the other parent can never under any circumstances leave California with the children, even for a brief vacation or day trip.

Other parents may, on the other hand, think that where they are and what they do with their children is generally not the business of their ex, and so they feel they can do whatever they want in this respect.

The reality is that neither one of these positions is quite right. In California, a lot depends on what a person's custody and parenting time orders specifically say about that matter.

If, for instance, the order specifically prohibits all travel out of state or, for that matter, across international borders, then the parent will need to follow the order, get it changed with the judge's approval or get an acceptable agreement with the other parent.

If the order is silent, the general unwritten rule is that the parent should get the consent of the other parent if he or she wants to travel out of state. This is particularly true when the parent is leaving the United States or if the travel is going to require the other parent to miss his or her court-ordered time with the children.

Likewise, a long-term move out of California requires special handling and will often necessitate getting the court's permission for a move.

It's not strictly forbidden to take one's children out of state unless the child custody order so specifies; however, even a short trip to another state or to another country can raise important legal issues that parents need to deal with thoughtfully and carefully.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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