May 20, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

Once a divorce petition is filed, both parties are restrained from removing the child(ren) from the jurisdiction (area) without prior written consent of the other party. Let’s say you have recently filed for divorce and you now want to move to Hawaii with your two young children. If the other party (your spouse) is opposed to this, your only other option is to ask the court to allow you to take your children with you when you move.

One way to do this is to file an ex parte motion requesting the court to allow you to move away due to some emergency situation. If the court grants your motion, then great, you’re set. If the court denies your motion, you will have to go back for another hearing and ask the court again to allow you to remove your children from the area. It is important to explain the details of the situation and how the move would benefit your children. If the judge is not inclined to allow the move, you may ask the court for a “730 evaluation.” (See California Evidence Code § 730.) A “730 eval.” Allows the court to appoint an expert to conduct an investigation into your situation. This investigation may include interviewing you, your spouse, the children, other friends or family members, work situations, etc. The expert (or experts) would then form an opinion as to whether or not you should be allowed to take your children with you when and if you move away. The court would then listen to the expert’s opinion and make a determination.

The “730 eval.” is not cheap. The judge may require you to pay for the cost of the expert or experts. Therefore, you should consider the cost when making your decision.

The “730 eval.” may also take quite a while. It could take a coupe of months. How long it takes will always depend on how much the expert needs to investigate. During the time of the investigation, you will probably not be allowed to move away with your kids. You should also consider this factor when deciding whether or not to ask for a “730 eval.”

The “730 eval.” may or may not be the right choice for you. Make sure to speak to a lawyer knowledgeable in this aspect of the law before you make any decisions. Wallin & Klarich can help you with your decision-making. Give us a call. We’d be glad to help.

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