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What to know about California’s move-away laws

Many co-parents face situations that require them to revisit their existing child custody arrangements. Some may wish to relocate to be closer to family, while others may be seeking employment or educational opportunities that allow them to provide a better future for the child.

If you share custody of your children, it is important to note that you simply cannot just move out-of-state. You will need to receive the other parent’s permission before you move, and if he or she refuses to give this permission, you will need to seek the court’s approval before the relocation will be granted. This post discusses some of the factors that courts consider when deciding whether or not the child will be allowed to move.

How far is the move?

One of the concerns of the court will be the distance of the move. Moves that are across the country may receive much more scrutiny than one that is a 3-hour drive. The distance matters, because the court does not want the child to be forced to travel to see the non-custodial parent. That being said, even a short move to a neighboring state still will be reviewed to determine if it is in the child’s best interests.

How much contact will the non-custodial parent have?

This is an extremely important issue that the courts will pay very close attention to. They want to be sure that the child will have every opportunity to enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents. They will want to know how things will change after the move, if it is eventually granted.

While technology has made it much easier for us to stay in touch with one another, Skype and FaceTime are not substitutes for actual in-person conversations. Even if the kids are allowed to talk to their mom or dad every day, it is still not the same thing as being in the same place at the same time. The courts will have to consider this when determining the final decision.

What is the impact on the child?

Ultimately, the court will need to understand how the relocation will impact the child. Would the move be a benefit, or, would it cause problems that place the child in a difficult position? The final decision will come down to what the court feels is best for the children involved.

If you need help with a relocation concern, you should speak to an experienced family law attorney about your options. Your attorney can help you prepare a solid strategy to help you pursue or contest a relocation matter, allowing you to continue to enjoy being an active part of your child’s life.

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