The Effects of Parental Relocation on Child Custody

People move all of the time, and just because someone is divorced or separated, it doesn't mean that they will want to stay put in a specific county or state. Just like everyone else, parents may want to move because of a job opportunity, to care for an aging parent, because of a new relationship, or simply to be closer to family.

When divorced or separated parents want to move with their child, it can introduce problems because the move would interfere with the parents' standing custody and visitation schedule. As a general rule, the family courts favor custody orders that allow both parents to enjoy frequent and continuing contact with their children. If you want to move, you will want to view your situation from the court's eyes.

What to Consider Before Taking Action

If you believe that a move would be in your child's best interests, you will want to consider these factors because the court will be looking at them as well.

  • What is your motive for moving? The courts do not look favorably on a parent whose motive to move is to interfere with the other parent's visitation rights.
  • Would the move make the current visitation schedule impossible?
  • Prepare a plan that would allow the other parent to have frequent and continuing contact with your children. A practical solution may include giving the other parent substantial visitation during spring and summer breaks.
  • Consult with an attorney about the benefits of filing your own motion, rather than waiting for the other parent to contest such a move in court.

How the California Courts Handle Relocations

The law on parental relocations is complicated and changing. Generally, if a parent has a permanent order for sole physical custody, he or she can move away with the children, unless the other parent can show the court that such a move would be harmful to the children.

If the parents have joint physical custody and one parent does not want the children to move away, the parent who wishes to move must prove to the court that such a move is in the "best interests of the children."

If there is a dispute over the move, the court usually looks at the actual parenting schedule at the time of the move, rather than rely on the schedule that the parents originally agreed to in their parenting agreement.

Whether you are worried that the other parent will move away with your children, or if you want to move with your children, you should talk to an attorney before doing anything that may result in an undesirable outcome.

Moving can have a profound effect on your children; therefore, having an experienced divorce attorney by your side will give you the best chance of obtaining your desired result.

To learn more about parental relocations in Riverside, contact The Law Offices of Robert Deller & Associates to schedule a free case evaluation.