Custodial parent relocation in California is actually quite legally complex. When a parent with primary custody wants to move out of California, the nonresidential parent may not have an issue with the relocation. However, if he or she does not agree to the move, certain provisions under state law may provide the opposing parent a legitimate, legal claim to prevent the residential parent from relocating with the child.
When a parent has permanent sole physical custody, the nonresidential parent can challenge relocation if moving could be proven to be harmful to the child. If the parents share joint physical custody, the burden of proof would be on the parent seeking to move. That parent would have to prove to the court that relocation would be in the child’s best interests.
If potential relocation results in a legal challenge, the court will factor in the established parenting plan or visitation schedule. However, the court also pays attention to the actual amount of time the nonresidential parent spends with the child, and that supersedes the written schedule. It may also be possible to alter an original visitation schedule to anticipate children living out-of-state. Additionally, there must be an attempt by the residential parent to receive the nonresidential parent’s consent to move. If that is not possible, the residential parent may approach the court for permission. However, the court will want proof that the nonresidential parent was either notified or unable to be located.
Custodial parent relocation in California and move away matters pertaining to child custody and visitation rights can be difficult to navigate. Consulting a family law attorney at Burke & Domercq will be helpful in determining how to proceed with relocation issues. If you hear of a planned move it is important to take proactive steps to preserve local “venue” and your rights as a parent. We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment.