Protecting Parental Rights In Move-Away Cases
Spouses commonly relocate during or after divorce. This is often a highly contentious situation, raising two questions: whether the parent is allowed to move away and how the custody arrangements should be amended. Our lawyers understand both the law and the sensitive realities of these disputes. We represent parents on both sides of custody relocation, in contested proceedings and in negotiated agreements, providing honest counsel, practical suggestions, and zealous advocacy. We have extensive experience in child custody disputes and related family law matters, and we serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Can The Custodial Parent Move Out Of Town Or Out Of State?
In California, a parent with custody of a child has the authority to change the child’s residence. The law presumes a valid reason for the move, and assumes the move serves the child’s best interests. It is the noncustodial parent’s burden to prove otherwise. Irrespective of the custodial parent’s authority to move, that parent must (a) notify the other parent and (b) petition the court for consent.
If the court has not issued an initial custody order when a parent seeks to move with the children, then the court will consider many factors in awarding custody and deciding whether to authorize relocation: geographical distance, the child’s age and needs, parenting duties, the parent-child bond and amount of contact, community ties, and the child’s own preference (if age-appropriate).
- If you are challenging a move-away, we will help you present your case that the move would adversely affect your child, or that the other parent has bad faith motives that would undermine your relationship with your child.
- If you are moving and the other parent opposes the move, we will advocate for you in the relocation hearing, and help you address transition plans and custody modifications.
Altering Custody, Visitation And Parenting Plans
Even if a move is not opposed, the parties must revisit the child custody order and parenting plan to establish new visitation schedules, including regular phone or video contact with the child, as well as orders setting forth guidelines for decision-making regarding the children’s education, health, and general welfare.
The distance of the move is a primary consideration. Is the parent only moving to South Bay, or all the way to Southern California, South Carolina, or the south of France? When long distances render regular visitation not feasible, the relocating parent may be asked to subsidize travel expenses, and the court may award the noncustodial parent additional time during holidays and summer vacation.
Noncustodial parents endure decreased involvement with their children and a corresponding increase in child support obligations. We strive to ensure that the custody and support terms do not create unreasonable burdens on the parent who is left behind.
“I have been to law school, and have worked with attorneys for 10 years as a litigation paralegal. I have seen it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. When it came time for me to hire my own attorney, and after doing research, Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., was my choice. In her frank and honest way, (Debra) told me exactly what I should do in this case. Although it was a hard recommendation to hear, I know it is the right one. Thank you very much Debra for reassuring me in my decision to do what is best for my son.”
— S.O. (Read more testimonials from clients.)
Experienced Representation In Relocation Disputes
Ideally, the parents resolve the relocation details directly. But Debra R. Schoenberg and her associates can step in as necessary, having regularly litigated these cases for more than 35 years. We are committed to asserting your parental rights and protecting your child’s well-being in the most thoughtful, sensitive manner under the circumstances.
You are welcome to contact our San Francisco parental relocation attorneys to schedule a consultation online or by calling 415.834.1120.