Our life is subject to changes. Someone might lose a job and take an employment opportunity in a different state. If your elder parent needs you to take care of him/her (or many other reasons) you may need to relocate. How does it affect your child custody?
Under California law, the best interest of the children is the determining factor. Ideally, the father and the mother shall both have parenting time. It is good for the children to have continuing and frequent contact with both of them. The relocation of one parent will make this contact difficult. Moving children out of the state will affect the other parent’s rights. The parent moving out of state with the children has the burden of proof that it is in the best interest of the children to relocate with her/him.
The type of child custody is a factor.
If the parent who has primary physical custodian wants to relocate, he shall file a petition to move away. In this petition, he or she should state the reason(s) for relocation and the other spouse will have a right to object. The court will base its decision on what is in the best interest of the children. Generally, joint custody is preserved. The court will issue a new plan for custody and visitation which would be more suitable regarding relocation. For example, a child might stay with one parent during the school year and have more time with other parents during vacation.
Custodial parent moving out of the state
If the custodial parent wants to move out of state, California law cannot prevent the relocation unless the parenting agreement specifies otherwise. Similar to the primary physical custodian situation, the moving parent needs to file a petition to move away. The other party has a right to object and prove that the relocation will dramatically change the children’s life. The expenses for enabling the children to visit a relocated parent should be addressed by the court as well as adjustment of the visitation schedule.
Non custodial parent moving out of the state
A non custodial parent can move out of state anytime but without relocation of the children. The child visitation schedule will need to be adjusted as well. If the non-custodial parent that moved away was under supervised visitation because the child abuse, drug abuse, or prohibited to take the children out of the state for any other reasons, he or she will need to come to California State to visit the children.
One important factor a judge will consider is how much time did each parent spend with children for the last year or a couple of years. If the judge says the mother has entitled to 80% and the father 20%, but for the last year the children spend half of the time with each parent, the court would not favor relocation with the children.
Whether custodial or Non Custodial Parent Moving out of State – the situation is not easy for the children and parent.
Mediation is a great solution to come into a mutual agreement regarding child custody. Angela is a certified mediator who converted high conflict child custody and divorces cases into amicable agreements saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for her clients.
It’s important to note that when either the custodial or non-custodial parent is considering moving out of state, it can significantly impact the child custody arrangement. The overarching concern for the courts in such situations is the welfare and best interest of the child or children involved.
If the custodial parent wants to move out of state with the child, they generally need to notify the non-custodial parent and the court and get consent or a court order before moving. The non-custodial parent has the right to object to the move in court. If the case goes to court, the custodial parent who wishes to move must demonstrate that the move is in the best interest of the child, considering factors such as:
– The reasons for the planned move,
– The extent to which the move would impact the child’s relationships with both parents and other significant people in their life,
– The potential improvement in quality of life for the child and the custodial parent, and
– The ability of the non-custodial parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child post-relocation.
For a non-custodial parent, moving out of state can be simpler as it generally does not involve relocating the child. However, they must still consider the effect on their visitation and parenting time. Non-custodial parents are often responsible for additional travel costs and must work to adjust the visitation schedule to maintain a relationship with their children. The court may revise the custody order to accommodate for these changes, ensuring that the non-custodial parent still has meaningful time with the children.
In any move-away situation, mediation can indeed be a valuable tool. Mediation allows parents to work collaboratively to reach an agreement that prioritizes their children’s needs while also respecting the rights and responsibilities of each parent. A skilled mediator can help parents negotiate terms that might include longer, but less frequent, visitation periods for the non-custodial parent, virtual visitation plans, or sharing of travel expenses.
It is of great importance for both parents to communicate effectively and prioritize the best interests of their child. They should consider legal counsel to understand the various legal implications and prepare adequately for any required court proceedings. As laws can vary by state and may have been updated since the knowledge cutoff date, it is also crucial to consult with a family law attorney who is up to date with the current laws and procedures in the relevant state.