Relocation can be a challenging and complicated process, but it becomes much more complicated as a co-parent navigating child custody proceedings and the nuances of family law. When it comes to move-away cases, you’ll need all the help you can get. If you’re looking for a move away and relocation lawyer in California, the Law Office of Cherish Om will go the extra mile to make sure that you get a fair chance in the relocation case process.
If you’re already familiar with custody arrangements, then it’s likely that you’ve also considered the process of child relocation for custodial and non-custodial parents in the event that they want or need to move away from their co-parent. However, the laws and proceedings for move-away and relocation cases are far from straightforward, and these laws often waver a considerable amount from state to state.
How far can the relocating parent legally move? Can a relocating parent move for any reason they wish? Does the non-relocating parent have any way to stop relocation from happening?
If you’re a parent finding yourself answering these questions, or finding yourself overwhelmed by the process of a move-away case, reliable help is available!
The Law Office of Cherish Om has worked with many parents faced with the issues surrounding physical custody and relocation. Contact us today and discover the relief that comes with hiring a family law attorney.
What is Considered Parental Relocation?
Parental relocation, commonly referred to as a move-away case, occurs when one parent decides to move a significant distance, making the existing custody arrangement difficult to maintain. There are many reasons why a parent may want to move away including:
- Job opportunities
- Proximity to extended family
- A more affordable cost of living
- A change of scenery
A parent considering relocation not only must consider how it will affect their child, but they also must consider the legal framework of existing custody arrangements, even when the option of relocation is already explicitly stated within the arrangement. While general considerations may have been made, the physical distance between the child and non-relocating parent, the impact of the new location, and many other factors may need to be further reviewed by the court before one parent can move forward with the relocation.
How Far Can a Parent Move with Joint Custody in California?
While there aren’t any specific requirements for the maximum distance a parent can move in California, the court will generally require the relocating parent to file a move-away case when they are moving over 50 miles away from the other parent, or if the move will severely affect the child’s well-being or relationship with the other parent. This obviously can create a lot of room for interpretation, and should the non-relocating parent feel that the move will violate either of these two specifications or any existing child custody order, they are within their rights to fight the move in family court.
How Do I Get a Move Away Case in California?
To initiate the move-away process in California and eventually get a move-away order, you’ll need to start by filling a request to the county court where you currently reside. While at first glance, filling out a few forms may seem like a straightforward process, however, it is far from it. You’ll need to position your relocation as being fully necessary and in the best interest of the child in order for the judge to approve the request. While it’s possible to do this without the help of a move-away and relocation attorney, it’s not recommended. A relocation lawyer or attorney will know what the judge is looking to see demonstrated in the move-away request, and the correct things to assert in order for the request to be approved.
The Move-Away Process
Once you’ve enlisted the help of a move-away lawyer and you’ve filed all of the necessary paperwork, you’ll need to take the following steps to ensure your move-away request gets approved and your relocation can resume without issue:
Provide Adequate Notice to the Other Parent
In accordance with California family law, you’ll need to provide adequate notice to your child’s other parent, informing them of your intent to move. California requires this notice to be written and delivered at least 45 days prior to relocation. This gives the corresponding parent plenty of time to either accept the relocation notice or to file a dispute. If a dispute is filed, a hearing will be scheduled, and your move will be either temporarily or permanently put on hold.
Collect and Present Evidence If Needed
In the event of a relocation dispute hearing, the judge will be looking at the following factors:
- Current custody arrangements: Do the current custody agreement’s specifications allow or disallow the relocation?
- Distance: How far will the relocating parent be moving, and is the move or new location going to impact the child in a negative way?
- The relationship of the parents: Do the parents currently work well together and do they both follow the current custody arrangements to the best of their abilities? Is there any indication that the relocating parent will use the further distance to the disadvantage of the other parent, child, or their relationship?
- Development of the child: Is the child old or young enough where moving will be an easier transition?
- Child’s transition: Will the new location of the parent affect the child’s ability to receive the same level of attention such as adequate schooling, childcare, contact with relatives, and medical and psychological treatment?
Generally speaking, if you can prove that your child will be as well looked after and cared for in your new location of residence as your old one and that the new move won’t affect the visitation rights of the other parent (within reason), the chances of having the approval of the judge will be greater. However, you’ll need to collect as much evidence as you can to demonstrate this at your hearing.
How a Move-Away Dispute Works
From collecting evidence to defending the integrity and importance of your move in court, a move-away and relocation lawyer can provide you with valuable advice and support through the emotional and laboring process of a move-away dispute hearing. Contact the Law Office of Cherish Om today so you can stop fretting about your day in court and get back to packing up and moving on with your new life.
If the move-away dispute reaches California family court and a hearing is scheduled, the burden of proof lies on the parent moving away. However, both sides will need to collect evidence and both will need to argue their case. The first thing a judge will do is look at the existing child custody arrangement and decide if the dispute can be resolved through the current agreement. If the custodial parent is the one relocating, the move will typically always be granted unless the opposing parent can prove that the move would physically harm the child. Conversely, if the non-custodial parent is the one moving, they likely will not have any issue with their move unless the current custody agreement requires visitation from both parents.
If there isn’t an existing permanent custody arrangement or a resolution can’t be resolved from looking at the current arrangement, the judge will look at the evidence on both sides and consider if the move will negatively impact the child or the child’s relationship with the parent staying behind. Once all of the evidence has been examined, the judge will issue either a temporary or permanent ruling on the dispute.
Strategies for the Move-Away Parent
As the move-away parent, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your child, your co-parent, and the State of California will remain satisfied through the relocation process. These can include:
- Communication: Communication is possibly the most important thing to uphold from the start of the relocation process. If you and your co-parent have a cordial working relationship, good communication can help resolve any issues that may arise during your move, and can hopefully prevent ever having to go through family court.
- Consider the needs of everyone involved: If you anticipate a disruption to the normal visitation process or the quality of visitation, try to come up with solutions to those issues prior to disclosing your decision to move to your co-parent and child.
- Consider mediation: If you anticipate difficulty during the negotiation process consider enlisting the help of a neutral third party to mediate. Ideally, this could be done with the help of a mutual friend, spiritual leader (such as a priest or rabbi), or arbitrator, but in some cases, negotiation may become complicated, and hiring a move-away and relocation lawyer will become the best option.
- Familiarize yourself with the law: Whether or not you end up in a courtroom to negotiate your move, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have the best possible understanding of your rights as a parent, as well as the rights of your co-parent, and the parameters of your custody agreement.
Understanding your rights as a parent is important to the relocation process, but unfortunately, it isn’t always enough. Organizing evidence and arguing your case often requires hours and hours of pre-hearing leg work and research. If you’re a single parent, there simply isn’t enough time in a 45-day period to make sure you have all of the information you need to get your relocation approved. Luckily for you, you won’t need to look far for help. The Law Office of Cherish Om can give you the thorough and experienced approach needed to make sure your move goes as smoothly as possible.