Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

One of the most challenging parts of divorce is scheduling your children’s time between you and their other parent. The situation can be even more difficult if one parent decides to move farther away.

If you need to relocate and want to take your child with you, or the other parent has advised you they intend to do so, a caring Simi Valley relocation lawyer could help you. Our skilled child custody attorneys understand how best to navigate the state’s “move away” laws.

Can a Custodial Parent Relocate with Their Child?

Under California Family Code §7501, a parent with primary custody of their child can relocate. However, they cannot take their child with them unless the other parent consents or a judge grants permission.

Simi Valley family court judges have broad discretion when deciding relocation or “move away” cases. If they determine that a move would harm the child, they can deny the custodial parent’s request. Because a parent’s relocation can substantially affect their child, a parent facing this situation is well-advised to discuss their case with a capable attorney in Simi Valley.

Child’s Best Interests Dictate the Outcome of the Move Away Case

When one parent wants to move and the other parent disagrees, a judge may have to step in and determine whether relocating is in the child’s best interests. To establish “best interests,” a judge must consider numerous factors, including:

  • The child’s age
  • Each parent’s proposed living arrangements
  • The child’s school, social, and family environment
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The distance of the proposed move
  • Any harm that would result from a change in custody
  • The child’s extended family relationships in their current community and new location
  • The parents’ ability to communicate about their child after the move
  • Any history of domestic violence

A court may also assess the relocating parent’s reasons for moving and the other parent’s basis for objecting to it. Additionally, judges may consider the child’s preference regarding the proposed relocation if they are mature enough. However, the court must still make the final decision based on what’s best for the child using the above factors.

Move away cases can be challenging because one parent stands to lose precious time with their child. Consulting a practiced lawyer in the Simi Valley area can help a parent ensure a smooth transition if a judge does grant a request to move.

Legal Process in Simi Valley Relocation Cases

To legally move away with a child, the custodial parent must seek a court order permitting them to relocate. After the parent files the move away petition, a judge can require them to attend mediation to resolve the dispute civilly. If they cannot, California Family Code §217 requires that they attend a hearing and present their case to the judge.

A contested relocation hearing can have several outcomes. A judge could grant the custodial parent’s request and accept their proposed visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent’s time with the child. Or, the court can deny the move, and the custodial parent would then have to decide whether to move and leave the child with the non-custodial parent. In some cases, a judge may transfer primary custody to the non-custodial parent.

A parent’s move can dramatically impact both parents and their children. Additionally, the laws governing relocation cases are complex. For these reasons, consulting an experienced attorney before making a final decision about moving is a good first step in the relocation process.

Discuss Your Case Today with an Experienced Simi Valley Relocation Attorney

Following a divorce or separation, disputes can arise if one parent contemplates moving away from the other, especially if the move is out of state. A seasoned Simi Valley relocation lawyer could represent a parent on either side of a “move away” dispute. Our compassionate legal team understands the magnitude of moving your child and could work diligently to advocate your position. Reach out today.

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Hoffer Family Law Firm