When one parent wants to move with the children, custody arrangements can become very complicated. If you are in this situation, it is essential to know your legal rights and options. This blog post will help you understand what to do if your ex-spouse wants to move with the children and how you can protect your rights as a parent.
How is Child Custody Determined in California?
In California, child custody is the legal right of a parent to have a child live with them. Custody can be either physical or legal. Physical custody means that the child lives with the parent, while legal custody refers to the parent’s ability to make decisions about the child’s education, health, and welfare.
Child custody can be joint, meaning that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities, or sole, meaning that only one parent has custody. Visitation, or time-sharing, refers to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent.
Custody is typically determined by a judge based on what is in the best interests of the child.
How “Move-Away” Situations are Handled
Sometimes situations arise where one parent may need to relocate to a different area for work or to be closer to family. If the moving parent has sole physical custody, then it is the other parent’s responsibility to show that the move would be harmful to the family.
However, if parents share joint physical custody and one parent wants to relocate, they must notify the other parent of their intent to move. The parents can discuss changes to the visitation schedule and ensure the non-moving parent can maintain a relationship with their child. If the parents can reach an agreement, they need to file a child custody modification with the court.
But, if the non-moving parent doesn’t want the child to move, the relocating parent must show how the move would be in the child’s best interest.
Courts generally consider the following factors when making a decision about relocation:
- The reasons for the move
- The impact of the move on the children’s schooling, extracurricular activities, and relationships with friends and extended family
- The ability of the non-custodial parent to maintain a relationship with the children after the move
- The wishes of the children, depending on their age.
In some cases, other factors may also be considered, such as the move’s financial impact on both parents or the effect on special needs children. Ultimately, however, the court will always prioritize what is in the child’s best interests in making a relocation decision.
Understand Your Options for Custody Arrangements
If you are a parent facing the possibility of your child’s other parent moving away, it is crucial to understand your legal options. Our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have extensive experience helping parents in all types of custody cases, including those involving relocation. If you live in San Jose or the greater Bay Area, contact us for a free consultation. We want to learn about your unique situation and help you determine how best to proceed. Fill out our contact form by clicking here or call us at 408-553-0801.