It is not uncommon for one parent to want to move away or relocate after a divorce. In some cases, this is a personal choice, while in others, it is required for a job. In a parental relocation case, there are two key questions: whether the parent is legally allowed to move away and how the parents will amend their parenting plan. At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., our San Mateo parental relocation attorneys can help you with this complicated family law matter.
Why Choose Us?
- We were voted the #1 family law firm in California. Our lead attorney, Debra R. Schoenberg, is a Certified Family Law Specialist with over 35 years of experience in this specialty.
- Our talented group of lawyers and staff care about our clients. We understand the emotional nature of parental relocation cases and will treat you with respect, compassion and honesty.
- We will effectively and efficiently handle your family law matter. We always maintain the highest standards of legal, professional and ethical integrity.
Is it Legal to Relocate a Child Out of Town or Out of State?
Yes, it is legal to relocate a child out of town or out of state, as long as the parent goes through the proper outlets to do so. California Family Code Section 7501 states that a parent with custody has the legal authority to move a child, subject to the power of the court. The law presumes that the custodial parent has a valid reason to relocate and is serving the best interests of the child. If the noncustodial parent wishes to prevent the move, it is his or her burden to prove that one or both of these assumptions are not true.
The Parental Relocation Process
For a parent to move a child, the parent must receive permission from the other parent or an order from the courts. If both parents are in agreement on the move, they can work together to create a new parenting plan and submit it to a judge. Otherwise, the matter will have to go to court. Either way, the parent that wants to move must notify the other parent within 45 days of the proposed move and petition the court for consent.
If the other parent wants to contest the relocation, he or she can attend a hearing and state a reason for the contestation. If the parent believes that a move would interfere with the child’s best interests, for example, he or she can provide evidence of this in an attempt to stop the move. The parent wishing to move, on the other hand, could argue that it would be in the child’s best interest.
California Family Code Section 3040 states that the courts will do what they can to ensure the child maintains frequent and continuing contact with both parents. If the relocation would interfere with one parent’s relationship with the child, this could stop the move. If the parent does not have a valid reason to move, this could also halt the relocation. The courts in San Mateo can consider many factors when determining a parental relocation case, but the main one is the child’s best interests.
What Factors Come Into Play in a Parental Move-Away Case?
Whether or not the courts in San Mateo grant a custodial parent permission to move away depends on the factors specific to the case. Overall, the determining factor is always what will protect the welfare and best interests of the child. When making this decision, however, the courts may take many individual factors into account, including:
- What does the current custody arrangement look like?
- How far away is the proposed move?
- Is the move necessary, such as a parent being relocated for a job, or frivolous?
- How much time does the child currently spend with each parent?
- What does the child’s relationship look like with each parent?
- How well can the parents communicate with each other?
- How close is the child to his or her current friends, family and community?
- What are the child’s current medical, educational, physical and emotional needs?
- How old is the child?
- Is the child mature enough to make his or her own decision on where to live?
For a better understanding of what factors will be relevant to your specific parental relocation case, consult with one of our attorneys. We will help you understand all of the issues that could play a role in your parental move away matter. Then, we will help you build a legal argument to achieve your case goals – whether you are trying to relocate or stop your co-parent from moving away with your child.
How to Prove Your Parental Relocation Case
Proving a parental relocation case in San Mateo requires evidence and arguments that demonstrate that the move will either impact or not impact your child’s relationship with the other parent, depending on your goals for the case. If you are trying to relocate, you will need to prove that the move would not negatively impact your child or harm his or her relationship with your co-parent.
For example, you may need to prove that you can communicate openly with your ex and that you are willing to travel, if necessary, to help maintain a shared custody agreement. If a judge can see that you are willing to work together with your ex-spouse to maintain his or her relationship with your child, this can improve your chances of the move being approved.
If you are attempting to stop your co-parent from moving away, you will need to demonstrate that the move will interfere with your relationship with your child. The move may be too far to allow you to reasonably travel to visit your child, for example. You may also need to demonstrate that the move would negatively affect the child, such as damaging his or her mental health by separating your child from the friends and community that he or she knows.
If you and your ex-spouse do not agree on a proposed move and must attend a hearing before a judge in the family courts, prepare for your court case by hiring an attorney. A parental relocation attorney can help you prove your side of the case with clear arguments and evidence, as well as attend a hearing for you so that you don’t have to do it alone. Your lawyer will understand California law and how the family courts work – benefitting you and your family with years of legal experience.
Altering Your Parenting Plan for a Move-Away
If the custodial parent has the right to relocate with a child, both parties will need to alter their parenting plan to factor in the move. If the move is not very far away, the parenting plan may not need major adjustments. However, if one parent is moving out of the state or country, the custody and visitation plan may require significant updating. If both parents can work together to alter the custody arrangement, a judge will most likely sign off on the new plan created. Otherwise, the matter will go to court and a judge will create a parenting plan for the family based on what is best for the child.
How a San Mateo Parental Relocation Lawyer Can Help
Parental relocation cases in California are determined on a case-by-case basis. Whether you are the parent wishing to move away or the parent who wants to stop a move, you could benefit from hiring an experienced family law attorney in San Mateo. An attorney who has handled these types of cases before will understand the surrounding laws and how to navigate them in a way that will get you closer to your goals. Your attorney can help you with many complicated matters, as well as keep the legal process simple and stress-free for your family.
Choose Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. for a Parental Relocation Case
At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we understand how emotional a parental relocation or child move-away case can be for the entire family. We provide tailored and compassionate legal counsel in San Mateo and throughout California. Our lawyers will do their best to help your family work through a complex and sensitive legal situation. We will fight for the best outcome for you and your child. To consult with a San Mateo family law attorney, please contact us online to request a consultation.