Children are frequently caught in the middle during a California divorce. Parents may disagree about child custody, parenting time, child support and other fundamental factors and this can be problematic. Some issues can create more discord than others and one that is often at the forefront of extended conflict is if a custodial parent wants to relocate with the child. This is also referred to as a “move away” and it is imperative to know the facts about it before reacting. There are options for both parents in this situation and having assistance is crucial to reaching a positive outcome.
The custody determination is vital with a parental relocation
There are different types of custody arrangements that the courts may order in a family law case. If one parent has been given primary custody (also called sole physical custody), then that parent can move away with the child if he or she chooses to do so. The other parent, in attempting to stop the move, must show that it would be detrimental to the child if it proceeds. If the parents have joint physical custody and a parent does not want the other parent to move with the child, the parent who is trying to move must show that it serves the child’s best interests before going forward.
The court will pay attention to any parenting time agreement that has been put in place when it decides whether to allow the move or not. The law specifies that a parent who is planning to change the child’s residence for a minimum of 30 days must inform the other parent except in cases where there is already a written agreement beforehand. It should be sent at least 45 days before the move is to take place.
Given the challenges of a parental relocation, experienced help may be needed
As with most family law cases, negotiation is possible and the parents can agree to a reasonable resolution on their own. Perhaps the parenting time arrangement can be adjusted to account for complications and lost visitation for the parent who did not move. This is obviously less likely to be fruitful in cases where the parents are on difficult terms. Regardless of whether there is acrimony or the parents’ relationship is relatively amicable, it is useful to have professional assistance when addressing this complex situation. Having guidance to navigate these circumstances is key to forging a workable arrangement.