If there are children involved in a divorce, a custody arrangement will be made as part of the finalized agreement. However, following a divorce, the situation may change for a parent, resulting in the need to move out of state. Do you know what your rights and obligations are as a divorced parent when you or your former spouse wants to move out of state? An experienced California family law attorney can help you understand the intricacies of out-of-state relocation and your legal options in this situation.
Sole Custody or Unmarried Mothers
Cases involving sole custody of a child or an unmarried mother with no recognized paternity are fairly straightforward. Because there is no other parent with legal rights to the child, the parent caring for the child has the right to move out of state or move anywhere without permission from the other parent or from the court. For unwed parents, this can be an important reason for a father to establish paternity if he wants to protect his relationship with his child.
Joint Custody Situations
In joint custody situations, where there is a custodial and noncustodial parent, steps must be taken to protect the rights of both parents when one would like to move out of state. In California, a parent must petition the court for any type of substantial move with a child, This includes in state and out of state relocation that will occur for more than 30 days, and a petition should be filed at least 45 days before a proposed move. The other parent has the opportunity to contest the proposed relocation and ask the court to either deny the move or change the custody arrangement as a result of the relocation.
If a parent objects to an out-of-state relocation, the court will consider whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. Some of the factors considered by the court include the reason for the move, the distance of the move, the child’s need for stability and continuity, the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s physical and emotional needs, and any other factor deemed relevant to determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child. If the relocation is substantial, the court may alter the custody agreement to give more visitation time to the other parent; however, if the court finds that the move would severely and negatively impact the child, the judge may state that the parent relocating will lose custody if he or she moves.
Call Our Office Now
Out-of-state relocations can be a difficult situation for everyone involved, and our office of experienced California family law attorneys is here to help. To talk with an expert about your case, call or contact Kearney Baker in Pasadena today to schedule a free consultation.