California Child Custody Laws About Moving Away

By Brenna Davis

California, like other states, considers the best interests of the child when making custody determinations. Judges recognize that when one parent moves away from the other, this can interfere with the other parent's visitation rights and prove harmful to the children. Consequently, California has established specific procedures to follow for parents who wish to move away from their child's other parent.

Understanding Custody Arrangements

Several types of custody arrangements are available in California. As a result, the type of custody arrangement you have can affect your ability to move. Joint legal custody occurs when both parents have equal decision-making authority over their child, while joint physical custody occurs when the parents get roughly equal time with the child. Sole custody arrangements occur when one parent has sole decision-making authority over the child and that parent's home is the child's primary place of residence, even though the other parent may still get visitation. A non-custodial parent refers to a parent who does not have decision-making authority over a child or who only gets visitation.

Non-Custodial Relocation

A non-custodial parent is permitted to relocate at any time. However, he may not relocate with the child. Additionally, some custody agreements prevent non-custodial parents from taking children across state lines. This is especially likely if the non-custodial parent has a history of custodial interference, child abuse or only has supervised visitation. In these cases, the non-custodial parent may have to return to California to see their child. The parents may enter into a new custody agreement -- with the permission of a family court judge -- modifying the visitation agreement if they choose.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Joint Custody Relocation

When either parent relocates in a joint custody arrangement, visitation schedules may be dramatically altered. In joint legal custody arrangements, the parent who is the primary physical custodian may relocate with the child but must file a move-away petition with the court. The petition must outline the reasons for the move and the parent who does not have primary physical custody may dispute the petition. A judge will then issue a ruling about whether the move is in the child's best interests. If it is not, the primary custodian cannot move with the child. In joint physical custody arrangements, either parent can petition to move with the child. However, joint custody must be preserved. Judges often issue new parenting plans in these situations that preserve parental rights while still allowing the move. For example, one parent might have the child during the summer while the other parent might have the child during the school year.

Sole Custody Relocation

There are no laws in California prohibiting a parent with sole physical custody from relocating. However, custody orders and parenting plans may have specific provisions prohibiting or limiting relocation. Parents should follow the dictates of their custody agreement. If there is not a provision covering relocation, the parent must file a move-away petition with the court, particularly if the other parent objects to the move. In most cases, a judge will grant the petition because the custodial parent's move is unlikely to dramatically alter the child's life. However, the judge may enter an order protecting the other parent's visitation rights; the parent who moves may be responsible for covering the expenses of allowing the child to visit the non-custodial parent.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Moving Out of State and Joint Custody


Related articles

Rights for a Divorced Father When the Mother Wants to Move Away

Parents aren't always equal under the law. In many divorce cases, courts name one parent as the primary custodian of the children and grant the other parent visitation rights. When the custodial parent wants to relocate with the children, this necessarily affects the other parent’s visitation schedule if the move involves some geographical distance. When a non-custodial father is faced with such a situation, he has the right to object and get the court involved. However, judges’ positions regarding relocation issues vary widely from state to state.

Child Custody Laws for North Carolina

Custody includes both physical custody, the right to provide a home for a child, and legal custody, the right to make decisions regarding a child's day-to-day care. In North Carolina, parents have an equal right to custody regardless of gender. The state's custody laws set forth the procedure a court must use when issuing or modifying a custody order.

Ohio Laws on Relocation & Child Custody After Divorce

Under Ohio law, a custodial parent wishing to relocate to a difference state must receive consent from the other parent or the court. As a result of this requirement, you cannot just pick up and relocate to another state with your child. There are requirements, as required by Ohio law, that you must meet before the move may occur or the court may intervene and order you and your child back to Ohio.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

California Laws on Parent Relocation

When parents share parental responsibility, the state of California prevents the custodial parent from relocating with ...

How to Change Joint Custody When the Non-Custodial Parent Leaves the State in Arizona

Divorces represent an opportunity for couples to move on. For some, this process involves physically relocating to ...

Michigan Child Custody Laws & Moving Restrictions

Relocation plans often result in conflict between divorced parents if one parent wants to move away with the children. ...

If You Get Divorced in Georgia Can You Move to a Different State With Your Kids?

Before 2003, Georgia was one of the more lenient states when allowing a custodial parent to move away or relocate with ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED