Best interests of the children vs. any harm that may result

Child Custody Lawyer for Relocation Matters

Legal Counsel for Move Away Orders in Southern California

Parents who share custody face a difficult dilemma when one parent wants or needs to relocate out of the area or state. When the custodial parent decides to move to a new home, the relocation can impact the accessibility of the non-custodial parent to his or her child. Additionally, it may also violate an existing custody and/or visitation order.

In some instances, relocation can be grounds for the non-custodial parent to request a change in the custody agreement. In all cases, California law requires the custodial parent to first get approval from the court by filing a move-away petition before moving with children.

Modification of Custody Order

Since California courts recognize relocation as a significant change in circumstances, a modification of the child custody order may be necessary. In order to accomplish this, the non-custodial parent must be able to show that the move is a detrimental to the child. It is essential to understand that the court will always consider the best interests of the child, so moving should not be used as a tool to limit visitation time with a co-parent or gain an advantage in a custody battle. The court will examine whether or not the move is an attempt by the custodial parent to limit the other parent’s time with the child, which will likely work against you.

  • When analyzing move-away orders, the court also takes into consideration:
  • The child’s interest in stability
  • The distance of the move
  • The child’s age
  • The child’s wishes
  • Time with each parent
  • The child’s relationship with each parent

If the court decides to not modify the custody order, it can still modify the visitation agreement by awarding more time with the non-custodial parent.

California Laws Regarding Relocation

As long as it is deemed to be within the child’s best interest, California law preserves the custodial parent’s right to change residences if necessary, even if moving with the child would affect the non-custodial parent’s visitation.

California Family Code Section 7501 states,

“A parent entitled to the custody of a child has a right to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child.”