There are several reasons an Orange County, CA parent with primary custody may need or want to move. It may allow them to provide better opportunities for their children or be closer to family. However, a parent separated from their co-parent who wants to move with their children needs to follow certain guidelines. They must inform their co-parent of the move within a certain timeframe. If their co-parent doesn’t agree to the move, the parent needs to get permission from the court.
Although this is a fairly common issue, it can be incredibly complex for families. Even when a custodial parent is making a move in the child’s interests, it can still be upsetting to the non-custodial parent, who may have less time with their children. A relocation may also impact a parenting plan. If you are initiating or contesting a relocation request, an attorney can ensure that you take the right steps.
The court holds a child’s interests as a priority when deciding custody, visitation, parenting plans, and relocation. At Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, we have more than 40 years of experience in family law, and we know how emotionally difficult this situation can be for many parents.
If you and your co-parent don’t agree on relocation for your children, we can help you advocate your point of view. You can file a request or contest relocation in court, and our attorneys can help you navigate that process. We use our experience and understanding of California family law to fight for the most beneficial outcome. It’s important to us that we protect your family’s future and well-being.
It’s most common that a relocation request is filed by the parent with primary physical custody. The court generally allows this relocation unless the other parent can show that it is not in the child’s interests. A custodial parent can usually change where a child lives, provided the following are true:
If the non-custodial parent doesn’t agree to relocation, then they must contest the request in court. If the move is far enough away, it will impact a parenting plan and may not be in a child’s interests. The court will deny the relocation request if it determines the move will:
The court may deny a relocation, or the co-parent may contest the request to relocate.
If parents have joint physical custody, both parents have the same rights to decide where children live. One parent who has joint physical custody is not allowed to relocate with their children unless they can prove relocation is in the child’s interests.
If no custody order has been created when one parent wishes to relocate, the court decides whether to allow the children to move based only on the child’s interests and not any custody orders. A parent who wants to move with their children, but does not have custody, has to petition for a modification of the current order or initial custody determination. Modifying an existing court order, like child custody, can be difficult because there likely need to have been significant changes since the initial order. Otherwise, the initial court order is likely still in the child’s interests, and the court will prefer stability in a child’s life.
Even a move that a parent may consider a short distance has the potential to be an issue. If you’re unsure whether your move warrants a move away notice or request, you want to speak with an attorney experienced in family law.
The court looks at several factors when determining if a relocation request is granted. These factors include:
Relocation cases are each unique to their family and the family’s needs. It’s important to understand how California family law impacts your unique situation. You can approach your case with more confidence with the legal counsel of an attorney.
Many parents decide to relocate to provide their children with a better life. Unfortunately, there are some parents who want to move with their children out of spite toward their co-parent. Similarly, a parent may contest a move away request out of a legitimate worry about seeing their children, while others may object with the intent to harm their co-parent. If you are dealing with a relocation or move away request in court, an attorney is your greatest chance at having your point of view acknowledged and considered by the court.
Your relocation case is dependent on your incredibly unique situation. You need a legal professional who can understand you and your family’s needs and then effectively apply their understanding of family and custody law to your circumstances. Relocation cases can be incredibly stressful for parents who disagree on their child’s interests. An attorney can help you navigate the process and lessen your stress by walking you through your legal options and likely outcomes.
A: Many court orders for custody and visitation include how relocation should be handled. This may include giving your co-parent a certain number of days’ notice about your plans or providing you with a set distance you can move without a co-parent’s express agreement. You can also discuss the specifics of your situation with an attorney to determine how the California family court may view your case.
A: You can contest the relocation of your co-parent and children in family court. You can file a motion with the help of a move-away and relocation attorney to prove that the move is not in your child’s interests. If you have a joint custody arrangement, you and your co-parent have the same rights to spend time with children, and your co-parent must prove that the move is beneficial. If your co-parent has sole custody, the court will likely deny the relocation if it negatively impacts your child or violates their rights.
A: There is not an exact limit in California to how far a parent can move without placing a relocation request. Many child custody agreements set a limit of 45 to 50 miles before you need to have express written agreement from your co-parent, though this varies based on the agreement. A relocation is generally fine if your co-parent is provided sufficient notice and the move does not affect a custody and visitation agreement. If a relocation request has to be filed, a parent with joint custody must prove that moving is in their child’s interests.
A: A non-custodial parent can move to a new location whenever, but not with a child. If a non-custodial parent wants to move, the child will remain in the custody of the other parent. In some situations, a custody and visitation order prevents a non-custodial parent from crossing state lines with their child. This is usually only a provision if the parent has disobeyed family court orders previously.
Relocation in California can be complex. If you are planning a move that could modify a current court order, you want to ensure the process is done correctly. Our attorneys at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, have more than 40 years of combined experience working in family law. We understand the court system and how relocation law relates to your family’s needs. Contact our team today.
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