If anything is for sure in a divorce, change is the one thing that spouses can expect. In fact, the way a family's life looks just before a divorce is usually drastically different 3 to 5 years later. A lot can happen after a divorce and sometimes BIG changes happen sooner than later.
When spouses split up, it's not unusual for the custodial parent, or the parent who has the children most of the time, to want to relocate with the children. Unless the custodial parent has sole physical custody of the children, which is less common than joint or shared physical custody, he or she cannot move away with the children without the court's approval.
Of course, if the other parent is agreeable to the move, it makes things a lot easier, but it's still important to seek the court's blessing before relocating to another county or state. Parents just never know when the other parent may change their mind and take legal action against them, thus a modification is usually in order whenever there's a significant change in child custody.
How Judges Decide on Parental Relocations
Family court judges take parental relocations very seriously; however, they are all handled on a case-by-case basis. Since each family's circumstances differ, judges can't possibly take a cookie cutter approach to parental relocations.
When deciding on whether to permit a parental relocation, the judge will closely examine the facts of the case and decide on the best interests of the children. The factors considered by the judge, include but are not limited to:
- The quality of the child's relationship with both parents
- The custodial parent's reasons for wanting to move
- How the move might benefit the children
- The children's ties to their extended family, friends, and community
- How the move might harm the children's relationship with the non-custodial parent
- If the move will improve the child's economic circumstances
In a parental relocation case, the judge may permit it, even if the custodial parent is moving for a remarriage, especially if the children would benefit educationally and economically. Sometimes, however, it's better for the parents to switch custody, and the parent still moves. Another option is permitting the move, but having the non-custodial parent move too. This way, he or she can remain physically close to the children.
Do you need help with a move-away matter? If so, contact our firm to arrange a free consultation with a San Diego child custody attorney.