Best Interests of the Children
In California, as in most states, family courts make most decisions based on the best interests of the children above all other factors. However, the laws regarding child relocation are quite complicated and always evolving. Typically, a California parent who has a permanent primary physical custody order is permitted to move as he/she sees fit, provided the other parent cannot show cause that the move would bring harm to the child. Still, whether or not a custody order is temporary or permanent comes into play in this also, with temporary orders having less weight in court than permanent ones.
Moreover, if the parents share physical custody of the child—known as joint custody—and one of the parents objects to the move, then the parent wishing to relocate must prove to the family court that the move is in the child’s best interests.
In both cases, the label of joint or sole custody—which is set forth in the parenting agreement in your case—is a vital part of the decisions made by the court. When a dispute is on the table regarding relocation, the courts will review the parenting schedule to determine how much a move will disrupt the children’s lives and how feasible it will be for the other non-relocating parent to spend time with the children in the case.
Because of this, both parents should come up with a parenting plan that takes the whole family into consideration. Any parenting plan should offer visitation that allows for ample time with the kids for both parents.
Moving Out of State or Out of the U.S.
Parents looking to move out of the state or even out of the country may face a greater obstacle than in-state moves when the issue is presented to the family court. In scenarios such as these, having the other parent’s express permission is usually required.
Help With Child Relocation
Whether you are moving 20 miles away or 2,000 miles away (or if the other parent of your child is doing so), if the move poses an impact on your existing custody arrangement, then new custody and visitation orders must be obtained. Remember, the court is not deciding whether or not the parent can move, but whether or not the child can move away from the other parent—and if the child is permitted to move, what arrangements must be made to accommodate the other parent’s visitation privileges.
Get help with your child relocation case from an experienced Westlake Village child relocation attorney. Reach out to the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch for solid advice and knowledgeable counsel regarding custody and relocation issues. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.