Can I relocate my child to another country amidst a divorce

Couples who went through a divorce typically want a fresh start. If you have children and want to embark on a new journey in a different country, you may need court approval or notify the other parent about the potential move.

If you are currently the custodial parent, you have the presumptive right to move with your child unless the relocation does more harm than good to the child’s well-being. The relocating parent must file a “move-away petition” before anything else. During court proceedings, the judge will decide if the relocation is in the child’s best interest. The court will thoroughly evaluate several factors before approving such a significant move as this can disrupt the other parent’s co-parenting plans and visitation rights.

Factors to consider for international relocation

Before you book that one-way ticket for you and your child, you must take note of the factors that may affect the approval of your relocation.

  • Existing custody orders and parental rights
  • Notice requirement and reasonable period for the proposed move
  • Good faith burden of proof on the relocating parent
  • Reasons for the proposed relocation (e.g., employment, family support, better opportunities)
  • Impact on the child’s relationship with the nonrelocating parent
  • Child’s ties to the current community (e.g., school, extracurricular activities, friends)
  • Potential for international custody disputes or abduction concerns
  • Laws and legal systems of the destination country

After the evaluation, the court will hold a hearing to allow both parents to present their arguments and evidence.

Determining what is in the child’s best interest

In California, the courts will consider factors such as the child’s age, their preference (when they are mature enough to decide), the quality of life and opportunities in the new location, and the ability of the parents to encourage and continue a relationship with the nonrelocating parent. The presence of extended family or support systems in the new location is also a factor.

Getting approval to relocate your child out of the country can be daunting and tedious as it involves intricate state and international laws that can be confusing. While thorough research is good, you may want to seek legal professionals who can help you transition smoothly into this new chapter of your life.