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

Divorce and separation can be a trying and emotionally challenging experience. However, when parents separate, and there are children involved, this can create even more complications and uncertainties. After a separation, it is common for parents to move away from the original family home, which brings a host of issues for the children and the parents.

While a parent may have various reasons for needing to relocate, such as for a new job or rent affordability, the ability to relocate will be premised on the child’s best interests. If you need to relocate with your child or you are trying to prevent your ex from moving with your child, consult with an experienced Ventura County relocation lawyer. A dedicated family attorney could help you navigate the legal complexities of relocation cases so that you can make informed decisions in the best interest of your child. 

Rights of the Custodial Parent to Move Away

California Family Code §7501 provides that the parent who has custody of the child is entitled to relocate with them. Notwithstanding that right, however, the Court is empowered to prevent a relocation by the custodial parent if that move would be detrimental to the child’s welfare rights.

Although this section appears straightforward, the courts’ interpretation has been somewhat complicated. Although the Family Code provides for the custodial parent’s entitlement to move, the courts have imposed several restrictions on this right. The courts have previously set out factors that should be considered when deciding if a custody order should be modified if the custodial parent decides to relocate. Some of these factors that courts take into consideration include:

  • The child’s interest in stability and having the existing custodial arrangement continued
  • The distance of the proposed move by the custodial parent
  • The child’s age
  • The relationship of the child to both of the parents
  • The relationship between the parents
  • The child’s wishes
  • The reason for the proposed move
  • The extent of shared custody

The decisions made by the courts on relocation cases are very fact-specific. The courts have a large amount of discretion when deciding on these cases and whether it is appropriate to modify an existing custody order. Because of the variability in relocation cases, it is important to retain a Ventura County lawyer when faced with this situation.

Initiating the Relocation Case Process in Ventura County

If a parent wishes to obtain a move-away order, they must file the appropriate form with the Family Law Court. In this form, a parent typically must give the reasons for the request to relocate so that the court can consider this factor when making a final decision. When determining whether to allow the custodial parent to relocate with the child, the Courts are guided, amongst other things, by California Family Code §3040, which strives to ensure that there is “frequent and continuing contact” with the non-custodial parent. An attorney in Ventura County could help a non-relocating parent protect their time with their child by fighting on their behalf in a relocation case.

Contact a Ventura County Relocation Attorney Today

Custodial matters can be draining and complicated. These matters can be even more difficult where an existing order may need to be altered to allow a custodial parent to relocate with a shared child. Since these matters can become complicated and are highly fact-specific, it is essential to contact a Ventura County relocation lawyer to help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

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