It is not uncommon for a person to desire to move away to a new location after a divorce in an effort to start fresh or pursue new employment. While this is certainly understandable, problems can arise if the person is a custodial or non-custodial parent, as relocation will undoubtedly have an effect on existing child custody and visitation arrangements. If you are looking to move away after a divorce, it is important that you keep several things in mind.
In California, when a parent wishes to move to a place that is far enough away to disrupt the current custody arrangement, the parents will need to establish new custody and visitation orders that reflect the new change. Custodial parents may file a motion to allow their child to come with them, while the non-custodial parent has the right to file a motion for a change of custody so that the child is able to stay. Before a judge will issue a modification, parents must seek mediation and attempt to come to an agreement on their own. If this proves to be impossible, a hearing will be scheduled for the court to issue a new arrangement.
It is important to note, however, that the issue revolves around whether or not the child leaves or stays – not the parent. People have a right to live wherever they please, and the court cannot prevent a parent from moving away.
What Factors Influence the Court’s Decision?
A judge will consider a multitude of factors when issuing a decision. If the parents share joint custody, they will be given equal consideration in court and will be issued a decision that aligns with the child’s best interests. Parents with sole custody, however, are given the “presumptive right” to move with their child, placing the burden on the other parent to show that the move would be detrimental to the child. This can difficult to prove, as the impact on a child’s relationship with the non-moving parent may not be enough to sway the court’s decision.
The courts will examine evidence concerning the following:
- The child’s age
- The distance of the proposed move
- The child’s relationship with the parents
- The relationship between the parents
- The child’s desires
- The reasons for the move
Hire a Certified Family Law Specialist - Call (951) 687-6003
Move away cases can be extremely challenging, requiring the skills of a dedicated lawyer to maximize one’s chances of securing a desirable outcome. If you are a parent looking to move with your child or a non-moving parent seeking to keep your child with you, a compassionate Riverside County family law attorney from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich can advocate on your behalf and help you seek an amicable solution to your family issue.
To find out more about what our 50+ years of experience can do for you, request a complimentary consultation online today!
Planning to relocate? Have other questions about custody? To learn more, call (951) 687-6003 or visit the following pages: