When parents are divorced, there are sometimes situations where one parent wants to move. This may be to pursue a job opportunity, to relocate to a different school district or to be closer to family or friends.
In California, a parent who has a permanent order for sole physical custody can generally move with the child unless the other parent can demonstrate that the move would harm the child. However, if the parents have joint physical custody and one parent does not want the other parent to move, the parent who wants to relocate must demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the child.
If one parent wants to travel to another state or leave the country, he or she must get permission from the other parent first. Permission is also required if the travel will cause the other parent to miss his or her court-ordered visitation time with the child. In cases where the parent cannot find the other parent to get permission, he or she must ask the court for permission before traveling, as well as demonstrate that he or she tried to find the other parent.
It’s helpful for parents to review their custody and visitation court order to check whether there are any limitations on their ability to travel with the child. If there are restrictions and the parent still wants to travel, he or she will need to get permission from the court. If the judge provides permission with a court order, it is important to make sure that it includes the dates of travel and the destination as well as for the parent to carry a copy of the order.
It is also important that relocation and travel are completed correctly and in compliance with child custody laws. An experienced family law attorney can assist parents with their questions and provide representation.