San Diego Out of State Child Relocation Attorneys
There may come a time when one parent decides to move out of the state where the other parent lives. This could be for career reasons, health issues, family reasons, or because the custodial parent is in a new relationship. The California courts understand this is sometimes necessary and generally won’t prevent it, though the relocating parent will need the court’s permission before moving the child. However, the non-moving parent can contest the move and attempt to block it.
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to move a child out of state or prevent your former spouse or partner from taking your child out of state, you need to speak with an experienced San Diego out-of-state child relocation lawyer. Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. has been successfully representing San Diego parents for over 35 years. You want to do what’s best for your child, and our family law attorneys can help you make that happen. For a free case evaluation, call (858) 458-9500.
In general, California courts allow a parent with sole custody of a child to move out of state unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move would be harmful to the child or children. When parents have joint custody of a child or children, and one parent wants to move them out of state and the other objects, the parent that intends to move must show the courts that the move is in the child or children’s best interests.
When considering whether moving out of state is in a child’s best interests, California courts consider:
- The parent’s motive for moving the child out of state (he or she must show that the reason for the move is legitimate and not just to take the child away from the other parent).
- How far away the child will be moving.
- The relationship between the child and both the moving parent and the left-behind parent.
- How the move will affect the child’s relationship with the left-behind parent.
- How the move will benefit the child.
- How the move will affect the child’s social life and education.
If you wish to relocate with your child, there are things you can do to help your case. Before proceeding with an out-of-state relocation request in family court, get concrete details down about the reason for the move, the specific location of the move, and benefits to the child. Also, if possible, work out a co-parenting plan that keeps your child’s relationship with the other parent intact after the move. The courts strongly encourage a relationship between the child and both parents.
- The parent requesting the relocation must file a "request for order" along with a supporting declaration with the San Diego family court. The declaration must be detailed and specific. This will include the how, when, and where exactly you will be moving, and why this move is in the child’s best interests.
- Meanwhile, the other parent must be served with a copy of the filed paperwork. He or she has the right to object to the move, but the burden of proof rests on the objecting parent. He or she must show that either the move is detrimental to the child, or that the moving parent has "bad-faith" reasons for taking the child away. The judge will ultimately grant or deny the move-away order. Parents with sole custody have a better chance of gaining a move-away order.
- If the other parent objects, an evidentiary hearing is scheduled. Both parents will be given time for the discovery process, so they can gather information and evidence that will strengthen their claims. The actual hearing rarely takes more than a day, although the judge may take some time to make a decision. The relocating parent will be asked to tell his or her side of the story first. The judge may also wish to hear from the child, if he or she is emotionally mature enough to make a decision. The judge will also take into consideration the schedules of both parents, determining how much they work, or will work, and how much time they have to be with the child.
- After the relocating parent has presented his or her case, the other parent will have a chance. He or she will try to show that the move will negatively affect the child, or that the moving parent has no plans to continue the child’s relationship with the parent remaining in the state.
- A lawyer for the relocating parent will have a chance to present a rebuttal after the opposing parent has made his or her argument. This is why it’s important for you to have legal representation before filing a move-away request.
- After the hearing, the judge will make his decision, which is final. There is no appeals process, and no chance of modifying the existing custody order unless there is a "significant" change in either parent’s circumstances.
In California, a child cannot be moved out of state without a court order. Moving a child out of state also requires a modification of the custody and visitation agreements - especially if you share custody. Court orders and custody and visitation agreement modification will require that you negotiate with the other parent through an experienced San Diego child custody lawyer.
Even amicable divorces can become hostile when an argument arises over moving a child out of state, so it’s important that you are fully aware of your rights as a parent. For over three decades, Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. has provided legal guidance to Southern California parents who are working on custody agreements or are mired in difficult custody disputes. We understand how much you cherish your relationship with your children and we want to ensure that that relationship remains meaningful and intact.
For a free case evaluation, call a member of our experienced legal team at (858) 458-9500.
- The Modern "Move-Away" Family
- What to Know Following a California Move-Away Trial
- Wrapping-Up Our Series Explaining the California Move-Away Process
- Attending an Evidentiary Hearing for a California Move-Away Case
- Starting a Child Move-Away Case in the State of California
- Filing the Initial Relocation Request for your California Child Relocation