Child Custody and Relocation in California

Thu 11th July, 2019 Family Law

After a divorce, it makes sense that sometimes a parent wishes to move away from the family’s hometown to start fresh. In other situations, a family health problem, job offer, or new relationship may lead one parent to want to relocate. Are parents allowed to move away when a minor child is involved after a divorce? The California courts have strict rules regarding relocation cases, and an experienced divorce attorney can help. Call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today to discuss the particulars of your case.

Custody Considerations

One of the biggest issues that arises in relocation cases is whether the move will adversely affect child custody and visitation. Parents who retain sole physical and legal custody of their  child typically have more freedom to move where they wish with the child since the noncustodial parent has little to no contact. However, for parents who have sole custody with visitation rights or split joint custody of the child, move away cases can get complicated.

There are two options for a parent seeking to relocate — the first is when the parents agree to the relocation. The former spouses can draft an agreement with a lawyer that acknowledges they both agree to the relocation, address any changes needed to custody or visitation, and dictate how transportation will be handled for getting the child from parent to parent. The second option is for when one parent does not agree to the move. In these cases, the relocating parent can file a petition with the California court that lists the reason for the move, the new address, proposed custody or visitation changes, and suggested options for transportation. The non-relocating parent can respond to the petition and both sides will have a chance to argue their cases in a hearing.

Best Interests of the Child

When determining whether to allow a move for a parent and a child after divorce, the court will look at a number of factors to determine if the relocation is in the best interests of the child. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The need for continuity and stability
  • Distance of the proposed move
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The parents’ relationship with each other, including ability to communicate
  • Any harm to the child’s relationship with the nonmoving parent
  • Reasons for moving
  • The child’s emotional, physical, and educational needs
  • Any other factor the court deems relevant to the child’s interests

An experienced divorce attorney can review the facts of your case and make the best possible arguments for why or why not a relocation is in your child’s best interest.

Contact Us Today

Relocation cases in California can be messy and painful situations for everyone involved, but you do not have to handle these issues on your own. Call the office or contact us today at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler in Los Angeles to schedule a consultation.