Steps Every Parent with A Custody Order Must Take Prior to Relocating Their Child Outside of California
This is the second post in my series on Child Custody and California’s Move-Away Process. My last post provided an overview of topics I will be discussing throughout the series. In this article I will be discussing the steps a parent should take prior to beginning the initial court proceedings in a San Diego case.
California law requires that all child relocations be in the best interest of the child
It is not unusual for newly single parents to with to move outside of their current city following a divorce or breakdown of a relationship. Such parents often wish to seek a fresh start elsewhere. The specific reason to seek a move, however, often varies widely. Some parents have job advancement opportunities in another state, others require help with childcare and wish to live closer to family. Unfortunately, some parents do not have the best of intentions when they wish to move. Following a messy divorce, some single parents wish to “seek revenge” on the other by ensuring that they will not have access to their child. California law is specifically set up to prevent “revenge relocating.” It requires a parent to have a well organized plan before moving and closely examines what is in a child’s best interest.
When the California Courts consider a relocation request, they will consider a number of factors. First and foremost they will look at your current custody arrangement. Parents who currently have primary custody will have a much easier time receiving a move-away grant then parents who share joint custody. Next the Courts will review the factors that contribute to the child’s overall health and happiness. They will examine how the move will impact the child’s day to day stability, the quality of relationship the child has with both parents, the child’s age, the relocating parent’s ability to encourage the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent, and the child’s wishes. All relocation cases are different and the San Diego Family Courts do not have a set “formula” they use to grant or deny relocation requests. Each case will be considered on a unique basis, with your child’s unique needs taken into consideration.
How San Diego parents can improve their chances of a gaining relocation outside of California
There are several steps a parent can take to improve their chances of having their request granted prior to filing a motion to request a relocation with the San Diego Family Courts. First, it is important that the parent have a specific plan in place. The more concrete answers a parent can give about where they will work, where they will live, information regarding the school district the child will attend, etc., the better. Secondly, if a parent can provide a realistic co-parenting plan, the Courts will be more likely to believe that the move is in good faith. If at all possible, if both parents can come together and agree on a visitation plan, the Courts will be more likely to grant a move-away. If this is not possible, the relocating parent may still be able to prove that they are committed to ensuring that their child will have routine contact with the other parent.
If you are thinking about moving outside of California then it is important to begin the legal proceedings right way. An experienced San Diego family law attorney will analyze the strength of your case during the initial consultation and will help you prepare the details of your move prior to the first Court hearing. If you are in need of a relocation, and wish for your children to move with you, do not delay. Contact our office now and begin the move-away process.