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. 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 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 their decision on what is in the best interest of the children. Generally, joint custody is preserved. The court will issue new plan for custody and visitation which would be more suitable regarding relocation. For example, child might stay with one parent during the school year and have more time with other parent 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 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-custodian 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 the important factor a judge will consider is how much time did each parent spend with children for the last year or couple years. If the judgment says mother is entitled to 80% and father 20%, but for the last year the children spend half of he time with each parent, the court would not favor relocation with the clildren.