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Legal Information: California


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April 4, 2019

If there is a final custody order in place, can I take my kids out of the state?

Generally, a parent can take his/her kids out of the state for a brief trip as long as there is no order prohibiting it and so long as it does not interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights. However, if you are uncertain whether a planned trip may violate your custody order, please consult with a lawyer before leaving.

Generally, you cannot change the child’s residence to another state without the written permission of the other parent or a court order. The court can direct that the parent who the child lives with has to notify the other parent if s/he plans to change the residence of the child for more than 30 days. The notice should be sent to the other parent by mail, return receipt requested, within a minimum of 45 days before the proposed move to allow the other parent enough time to object and to bring the case back to court. A copy of the notice also has to be sent to that parent’s attorney in the custody case, if s/he had one.1 To find out more about the procedures to notify the other parent, please contact the court where the custody order was issued.

Note: If either parent files for custody or files to modify custody, there will be an automatic restraining order in place prohibiting the parent who has custody from taking the children out of California until a judge comes up with a final judgment.2 Until the judge makes that final custody order, you would have to ask the judge for permission to take trips with the children out of state.

1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3024
2 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3063