Child custody and visitation cases can be some of the most challenging and contentious matters when it comes to family law. This is especially true when one parent wishes to relocate to another city, state, or country and bring their child or children with them. These are known as “move-away” cases.
These proceedings present a number of unique challenges for both custodial and non-custodial
parents. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, however, parties dealing with a move-away order can find the support and representation needed to effectively protect their rights and interests.
A Few Important Facts about Move-Away Orders in California
- Distance – A move-away order stems from the custodial parent’s request
to relocate with their child or children to a new geographic area. The destination could be a nearby city, a different state, or even a different country halfway across the world. Move-away involving shorter distances between custodial and non-custodial parents may present some challenges with a non-custodial parent’s involvement in day-to-day activities with their children. These challenges are not as extensive as those posed by relocation to other cities or states hours away or longer. When longer distances are involved there is greater disruption in the relationship between children and the non-custodial parent, as well as disruption in a child’s quality of life.
- Agreements – Parents who are able to work together amicably to devise a parental
agreement regarding custody and visitation rights can do so without having a judge decide for them. These agreements can outline plans for changes in parental time sharing, as well as the rights of non-custodial parents during holidays, special events, and vacations. Though made out of the courtroom, these agreements still need to be drafted and reviewed with the assistance of an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. They also need to be signed by a judge to make them binding court orders.
- The Court – In the event that parents are not able to reach an agreement out of court, or when a non-custodial parent wishes to oppose a move-away, enlisting the help of a lawyer should be a priority. Our attorneys can assist in immediately obtaining temporary orders to prevent the move-away until a final determination is made by the court. We can also help our clients protect their rights and interests. For custodial parents, this involves demonstrating why a move-away order should be granted and how the parent will continue to provide a stable home. For non-custodial parents, this may involve arguments as to why the move-away is not in a child’s best interest, particularly if they have a strong bond with their non-custodial parent, a nearby family support system, local friends, and more. It may also be argued that the move is being made in bad faith, such as to prevent a non-custodial parent from being involved in their child’s or children’s lives.
- The Children – As in any family law matter involving children and the legal system, the court will always focus on what is best for the children. This means that when courts are tasked with deciding whether a custodial parent should be allowed to relocate with their child, they will review a number of factors to determine if the move is in the child’s best interest. These factors may include the distance of the move, the current custody and visitation arrangement, the child’s relationship with both parents, the child’s age and preference – if they are old enough, how they will adjust to a new home and environment, and other considerations.
With California being one of the most diverse states in the country, move-away cases are not uncommon. Our firm has years of experience handling move-away matters on behalf of both custodial and non-custodial parents. This enables us to take the unique facts of a case and evaluate them in accordance to the law and how California courts typically handle these matters. During such important and often challenging legal endeavors, this insight can prove invaluable to help parents effectively protect their rights and relationships with their children.