Family Law Attorney Serving Van Nuys, Los Angeles, and Surrounding Areas
When it comes to “move-away” situations in California, the law can be complicated, necessitating the involvement of a good family law attorney. This is also why working with an attorney is an essential part of coming up with a parenting plan early on—to ensure that your rights are always protected, should the topic of relocation come up.
California's public policy favors children having frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Keep in mind that, if the family law court decides that any plans to move made by the parent with primary physical custody are at least partially motivated by a desire to disrupt the relationship between the children and the other parent, they can award physical custody to the non-custodial parent. In other words, the impact that the move would have on the non-custodial parent's relationship with the children can be used as a factor in determining whether the move would “prejudice the rights or welfare of the child.” If detriment is demonstrated and the non-custodial parent has requested custody, that non-custodial parent must also then demonstrate how that would be in the best interest of the child.
Best Interest of the Child Standard
The “best interest of the child” standard is extremely important when a California court has to make a decision in a move-away case. Under California law, the court considers the following factors (as well as any others it finds relevant):
- Any history of abuse by the parent seeking custody;
- The health, safety, and welfare of the child,
- The amount of contact with both parents and the nature of that contact;
- Any continued or habitual illegal use of controlled substances;
- The circumstances of this particular child: their age, their interest in the current custodial arrangement, their relationship with each parent, their wishes (if they are mature enough to express a desire to remain with one parent, etc.);
- The relationship between the parents and their ability to communicate, cooperate, and place the interests of the child above their own, as well as whether they are currently sharing custody; and
- The reason for the move.
If Parents Permanently Reside in Different States
Every state abides by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which sets forth factors allowing one state to make or accept a custody decision for/from another state. For example, factors such as:
- Whether one of the states is the child's “home” state or the child has lived in one of the states for the last six months, or was living there before one parent moved them;
- Whether the child has particular connections to a state—relatives, activities, education history, etc.; and/or;
- If there are any issues concerning abuse or neglect.
Whether you are seeking to move with your child or you are concerned that the other parent is moving with your child, contact our office at (818) 740-2122 to set up a free consultation.