Parental relocation and custody disputes

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2023 | Custody |

Divorce can be difficult for children as they strive to adapt to the new situation. California parents strive to shield their children as best they can. Still, disagreements over custody and parenting time can escalate and lead to hard feelings and extensive problems.

A frequent problem is if the custodial parent wants to move away with the child. Relocation can be contentious and both parents must be aware of how to navigate this complex terrain.

Key facts about parental relocation with a child

There are two key factors that will determine if the court will let a parent move away with the child. First, it cannot interfere with the current custody and parenting time order; second, the other parent must have been given notice that the move is going to take place.

In most instances, a move a relatively short distance away should not cause a great deal of trouble if the parents are reasonable with child-related matters. If, however, it is a significant distance away, then issues could arise. Non-custodial parents who would face obstacles picking up the child, dropping them off and seeing them in general could oppose the move.

Among the factors that the court will assess are distance, the custody and parenting time template, if the parents can work together amicably for the child and the child’s age at the time. The judge will weigh the circumstances before deciding. The type of custody arrangement is essential. The court will factor in if a parent has sole custody or joint physical custody. If the parent has a permanent order for custody, this too is important.

When there is a permanent custody order, the judge is likely to approve the move except in cases where the other parent shows that the child will be endangered or harmed by it. With joint physical custody, the parent must prove that the child’s best interests will be served by the move.

Both parents should know their rights when relocation is proposed

Whether a parent is moving away with the child for a job opportunity, to be near family, to attend school or because they are worried about their safety, it is vital to understand how to move forward. From the perspective of the non-custodial parent, they must know what can be done to prevent the relocation or to change the custody and parenting time template to better suit them with the new living arrangement.