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Situations of “Move-Away” Custody
In California, a “move-away” custody case relies on various conditions in attempts to rule fairly. If a parent decides to move away and wants to take the child with them, significant changes in custody will occur. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about California move-away cases, what a court will look at when deciding whether or not to allow a child to move, and what exceptions are made for brief out-of-state trips.
What Happens If One of the Custodial Parents Leaves?
A “move-away case” occurs in California when a parent with joint or sole custody desires to relocate to a location far enough away from the current parenting arrangement. In this case, the parents will be required to file new custody and visitation arrangements.
To begin, the relocating parent may request permission to take the child with them, or the other parent may request a change of custody so that the child can remain with them. Generally, a parent with sole physical custody of the children can move away with the children unless the other parent can establish that the move is not in the best interests of the children. Similarly, if the parents have shared physical custody of the children and one spouse does not want the children to move, the parent who wants the children to go must persuade the court why the relocation is in the best interests of the children.
In any event, if you are concerned that the other parent may want to relocate with your children, or if you wish to relocate with your children, consult an expert attorney before agreeing on a parenting plan to ensure that your custody rights are protected as much as possible.
Taking Legal Action
In such a case, the parents must try to come to an agreement about where the child will reside and what visiting arrangements they will have with the other parent on their own or with the help of a mediator, but if they can’t, they will have to allow the court to impose new orders.
The court cannot rule whether a parent can move away in a move-away case (they have the right to, after all). Instead, they decide whether the child should live with that parent and, if so, how the child’s visitation should be structured. The court’s decision is based on whether the parents share shared custody of the child or whether the child is solely in the custody of the moving parent.
If the parents have joint custody, the court will convene an evidentiary hearing with the parents in order to make a new custody determination based on the child’s best interests. If a parent has sole custody of their child, they have the “presumptive right” to relocate with them. So, if the non-moving parent wants to argue against the child’s move, they must establish that the move will be harmful to the child.
The judge will review the facts and hear live testimony during the formal evidentiary hearing. Parents, child custody evaluators, and others with pertinent information about the best interests of the child may testify. If the youngster is 14 years old or older, he or she has the right to testify and voice a choice for moving or not moving. The court will consider evidence relevant to the following factors during the hearing.
the parents’ relationship, particularly whether they can put their child’s interests ahead of their own, and whether the moving parent is willing to allow contact between the child and the other parent; and the reasons for the move (e.g. cannot be to merely disrupt the relationship between the child and the other parent).
A parent usually needs the other parent’s consent to take their children out of state, especially if they wish to leave the nation or if the other parent would miss their court-ordered visitation because of the trip. If you are unable to reach the other parent, you will need to go to court and petition the judge to grant you permission to leave without the consent of the other parent. . Keep in mind that you must have made an attempt to locate the other parent and must tell the judge about all of your options.
Some custody orders may stipulate whether or not it is permissible to take the children out of state or out of the country. If your ability to take your children outside of your nation or state is restricted, you will need a court order granting you special authorization to travel.
If the judge grants you permission to travel, make sure you receive it in writing and that the order specifies the dates of travel and any other details so you can travel securely and lawfully with your children. It’s important to keep a copy of the order with you at all times; you might need to show it to border patrol, airport workers, or any other authority who requests it.
Allow a California Family Lawyer to Assist You
When one parent decides to make a major life change, custody can be challenging to navigate. Moving with the child, whether parents share custody or one parent has sole custody, will have a substantial impact on the other parent’s parenting time and, as a result, their relationship. If you are a parent who wishes to relocate with your child, or if you are the other parent whose child may relocate with the custodial parent, seek legal advice immediately. Even in the face of a major shift, a qualified attorney can help you protect your rights to a relationship with your child.
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