Separation and divorce are tough situations for any family. When a parent wants to move after the divorce is finalized to start a new life or new job, it becomes even more complex. While a judge won’t force a parent to stay within state borders after a divorce, they can change the custody orders after relocation to better serve the needs of your children.
Custodial parents have the legal right to travel and relocate with their children under specific circumstances, but only once the children’s best interests are taken into consideration. If that move would impact your child in a negative way physically or emotionally, the judge may award custody to your spouse to make life easier for your kids. If you’re thinking of moving away, you should understand California’s move-away laws.
How Basic Custody Works
A custody order is a legal statement that provides a plan for your children, stating who they will live with, who has visitation rights, and how they work. When parents are too emotional to come up with a working plan on their own, a judge can create one based on the needs and best interests of the child. The plan will declare who has physical and legal custody rights and how visitation works. With joint physical custody, one parent will sometimes be marked as the custodial parent, which can give them an advantage if they want to relocate, but that advantage can be overcome by a noncustodial parent depending on specific factors.
California’s Move-Away Laws
California law states that a parent must give notice in the form of a written plan if they want to move away with their child for longer than 30 days. That notice should be provided 45 days or more before the move so parents can decide on a new visitation and custody arrangement. If the parent who isn’t moving disagrees with the move, they can file an official objection and ask for custody to be modified.
When a parent moves, they will only lose custody of the children if the move will have a negative impact on the kids. However, custody and visitation rights may be affected if the other parent doesn’t approve of the move. If they can show that the move will be particularly detrimental to your child, the judge may find that a new custody arrangement would better serve the child’s needs. A good judge will look at many factors in a relocation hearing, from the stability and continuity needs of the child to their relationship with their parents and the reason for the move. Anything deemed relevant to your children’s best interests can be brought in as evidence.
Change is difficult for anyone, especially your children, but sometimes getting a fresh start is essential to a happy life. If you have questions about moving with your children after a separation agreement or divorce, contact the Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer, PLC, at (949) 353-6151 for a free consultation.