We live in a mobile society where people relocate for various reasons, such as new job opportunities, going back to school, living near extended family support systems, lower cost of living, getting remarried, etc.
What happens when there are children involved? Does the custodial parent have the right to move away without the consent of the non-custodial parent? What happens if the non-custodial parent decides to move? Does the custodial parent have an obligation to pay for visitation travel expenses?
Every case is different. Moving away with your child is not an easy task.
Family Code Section 3024 states, “If a parent plans to change the residence of the child for more than 30 days, an agreement between the parties or a court order is required”.
How will this move affect your child? How will the non-custodial parent’s visitation be affected? Is this move in the best interests of your child?
Getting the other parent’s permission is not always impossible. California law requires you to give your ex-spouse notification of your proposed move before a court action is filed and the offer of a reasonable visitation schedule since visiting will be harder.
What happens if your ex-spouse doesn’t consent to your move-away request? If this happens, you will need to file a request with the court to be able to move with your minor child – unless a prior order already gives you the right to change residence without the consent of the other parent.
If a court hearing is necessary, there are some presumptions that favor the parent with primary custody of the child. However, these can sometimes be overcome. It is important to make a clear case to the court why the move will benefit your child.
One of the most important factors is which parent has been providing a stable environment for the child. It is important to remember that just because you are the custodial parent doesn’t mean you can automatically up and move your child.
Finally, if you aren’t doing something with your child’s best interest in mind, it could really come back to hurt you in a custody case.
If you have questions regarding a move-away request, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced family law attorney. Contact the Orange County family law offices of Amy M. Montes. We will protect your needs and those of your children as well.