When two parents share custody of a child after a divorce or legal separation, it is possible that one of them may eventually wish to move away. Whether the desired new location is only the next city over or an international move, the moving parent must take certain steps to legally make the move in California. The parent that is not moving has the right to contest the move and potentially stop the relocation.
Learn more about this complicated issue by contacting the Marin County parental move-away lawyers at the Schoenberg Family Law Group.
What Happens When One Parent Wants to Move Away?
California Family Code Section 7501 entitles the custodial parent to change the residence of a child if the parent receives court approval. This request is subject to the power of the court to restrain a relocation that would harm the rights or welfare of the child. If a parent moves away with a child without the court’s permission, he or she could be held in contempt of court or face a child abduction charge. The following steps are necessary to lawfully move away as the custodial parent in California:
- The parent who wishes to move must provide written notice to the other parent within 45 days of the intended move-away date. This notice must contain the exact address where the parent wishes to move, the reason for the relocation and the date intended for the move.
- If the other parent wants to prevent the move, a hearing will take place in the Marin County family law courthouse. At the hearing, the noncustodial parent can present his or her argument as to why the move would not be in the child’s best interest. The custodial parent will then argue that the move will not damage the child’s relationship with the other parent.
- If both parents agree to the move, they must work out an updated parenting plan if the move will disrupt the current child custody agreement. They can work together to modify the current plan or, if necessary, the custody matter will go to a judge.
When a parental move-away case goes to trial, the courts look at many different factors to determine if they should grant or deny a parent the right to relocate. The main determining factor, however, is the child’s best interests. The courts will look at the distance of the proposed relocation, the reason for the move, the current custody order, the child’s age and relationship to each parent, his or her connections to the community, and other factors to decide what is best for the child.
Can Child Custody Change in the Future When a Parent Moves Away?
Yes. Child custody agreements are not static; they are subject to modification if the needs of the child change. If the move is approved by the courts but the child does not adapt well to his or her new home and is unhappy, the child can seek permission to return to the noncustodial parent’s home. The courts in California will determine these cases based on what protects the child’s well-being physically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically.
How Can a Family Law Attorney in Marin County Help?
Parental move-away cases are complicated and challenging, with state laws that are always changing. The best way to deal with this type of case is by consulting with an attorney in Marin County. Whether you wish to relocate or are hoping to stop your ex-spouse from moving, a lawyer can help you achieve your goals with a personalized legal plan. You can trust your parental move-away attorney to aggressively represent your side of the case while you focus on your family and future.
Speak to a Parental Move-Away Lawyer in Marin County, CA Today
If you are dealing with a parental move-away case in Marin County, California and are seeking the advice, expertise and counsel of an attorney, contact the Schoenberg Family Law Group to request a consultation. Call (415) 212-8023 today to speak to a knowledgeable child custody and parental relocation attorney near you.