What Happens When a Parent Moves Away and You Have Joint Custody?

Custody cases can be stressful for both the parents and the children. They can become even more strenuous when one parent decides to move. This issue has become more prevalent in our society, especially in California courts. These cases are governed by various statutes and laws that are continually changing. Typically, anything greater than 50 miles will be deemed a “move-away” custody case and generally, the parent that plans to move with the child will need court approval before doing.

If you are involved in a custody case that involves a “move-away” parent, it is imperative that you contact an experienced family law attorney immediately. The Beverly Hills family law attorneys at Baghdaserians Law Group, Inc. have dealt with a variety of child custody issues and are prepared to represent you and will fight to procure a favorable outcome.

Can You Prevent the Parent from Moving?

It would be unconstitutional to prevent a person from freely moving within the United States. The California court system is not allowed to make a ruling that would inhibit someone’s constitutional rights, and therefore, they cannot issue an order restraining one of the parents from moving.

Though, from the previous precedent, the court can weigh a parent’s relocation as a factor when deciding a custody arrangement and will make the decision with the child’s best interest in mind. For example, if a parent is deciding to move thinking they will have custody of the child, a judge can rule that the other parent must have custody, which may change the other parent’s decision to move in order to remain close to the child. In this situation, no one is preventing a parent from moving but changing various factors that go into their decision to move.

Laws Governing Parent Relocation

First off, under California Family Code, a parent must give at least 45 days to the other parent and court before the date of their move. The laws can be complicated and vary depending on what type of custody was originally ordered.

  • Visitation: When there are visitation rights or joint custody, the court will weigh a multitude of factors to decide what is best for the child. There is no cut-and-dry law that governs what to do when a parent moves away and the other has visitation rights. When the court makes a decision, they will look at:
    • What is stable for the child
    • How far is the child moving
    • The reason for the move
    • Educational needs
    • Age of the child
    • Any harm that would result if custody orders were changed
  • Joint: If the parents have joint custody and one of the parents is against their child moving, the parent making the move must show that the move is in the best interest of the child.
  • Sole: Generally, when a parent has sole custody, they are permitted to move with the child unless the other parent can show the court that the move will somehow bring harm to the child.

Contact Baghdaserians Law Group Today

For more information regarding custody and “move-away” issues, schedule a consultation with our California custody visitation attorneys at the Baghdaserians Law Group, Inc.

Our attorneys help those throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us today at 626-460-9525 for our Pasadena office or 310-299-4608 for our Beverly Hills office.

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