California child custody and relocation: What are my rights?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Custody |

Any California family law case is bound to have its difficult moments. Among the most emotionally challenging are those surrounding children. Custody and parenting time (also called visitation) can lead to disagreements and extended problems. This can be compounded if the custodial parent wants to move away with the child. It does not necessarily need to be adversarial, but regardless of the parents’ position on the move, it is important to be aware of the legal factors and rights.

The type of custody is critical with a relocation

Depending on the custody order, a parent might be able to simply move with the child without permission to do so from the other parent or there could be the right to protest and prevent it. If a parent has sole physical custody (also referred to as primary physical custody), the only way for the other parent to stop the move is to show that it would be a detriment to the child. When it is joint physical custody and a parent is opposed to the move, the parent who is asking to be allowed to move is required to prove that it is in the child’s best interests to proceed.

Even with a relocation, the right to parenting time remains

Just as there is a parenting time arrangement if the parents live within reasonable distance of each other, there will be a parenting agreement if the parent moves away. Depending on the distance and the parents’ schedules, the parenting time agreement might need to be adjusted. This can open a whole new set of issues that would need to be addressed. Each side should be prepared for this when there is a relocation.

With relocation, it is important to know what options are available

After a couple ends a relationship, it is not uncommon for them to move to a location that is much further away than where they previously resided. This can complicate matters with children as the non-custodial parent might face obstacles in seeing the child as much as they would like and organizing their visitation.

In many cases, custody and visitation can be negotiated amicably. In others, the non-custodial parent lodges an objection to the move. To address these challenges, having experienced representation can defend both parents’ rights while looking out for the child’s interests.