As a divorcee looking to relocate for work, family, or simply a change of scenery, what are your options if you’d like to bring your child along?
In California, custodial parents can move away if a set of specific factors are met. However, noncustodial parents also hold the right to object to relocation if it negatively impacts any children involved. From your child’s need for stability to their relationship with you and your spouse, there are several factors involved in a judge’s relocation decision.
Learn the steps for moving away as the custodial parent, and contact our offices for help drafting written notices or making changes to custody and visitation agreements.
Moving Away as the Custodial Parent
In California, a custodial parent maintains the right to change residences, or move to a different neighborhood with their child given it doesn’t impede on the child’s best interests. However, there’s a process involved. If the transition will last over 30 days, custodial parents are required to provide a written notice of their relocation plan at least 45 days prior to the move. Those 45 days are meant to give ex-spouses the necessary time to look over and update custody and visitation agreements.
When the Noncustodial Parent Objects
When a custodial parent puts in a relocation notice, the nonmoving parent reserves the right to file an objection. In this case, they’d ask the court to modify custody. This is commonly seen when a custodial parent moves far away, making it difficult for the noncustodial parent to maintain their relationship with their children. If the relationship between the noncustodial parent and their children is strong, an objection is more likely to arise – though courts will make their own decisions based on a number of factors.
Factors Considered In Court:
Custodial parents can relocate without losing custody, as long as it doesn’t negatively impact any children involved. Then, if the nonmoving parent objects, a judge will set a hearing to decide which course of action is appropriate. While it depends on the subjectivity of the judge, a change of custody is typically deemed valid if the noncustodial parent proves that relocating would: 1. Be harmful to their children, and 2. Serve the children’s best interests. When coming to their conclusion, judges will consider the following:
- Your child’s need for stability
- Your reasons for moving
- The distance of the move
- Potential harm due to a custody change
- Your child’s relationship with you and your spouse
- The parental relationship, and your ability to communicate
- If the move will harm your child’s relationship with your ex-spouse
- Your child’s physical, emotional, and academic needs
- Your child’s relationships with extended family in the current and new locations
If you’re a custodial parent seeking relocation with your child, contact us for help kicking off the moving process with a written notice. Conversely, if you’re a noncustodial parent filing an objection to your ex-spouses relocation, we can help.
Contact Jennifer Owens for Mission Viejo Child Custody Support
Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move onto their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.