Life doesn’t stop happening after a divorce. In fact, a divorce can herald a new beginning in someone’s life because they might take risks and opportunities that weren’t possible to take during their marriage. This might include new job opportunities in a new city or simply moving somewhere one has always wanted to live.
While a divorce can provide a lot of newfound freedom, the freedom to go anywhere may be limited if one cares about their stake in child custody and visitation rights. Most parents do, which is why it’s impossible to relocate without addressing the child custody order and even modifying it.
Issues involving parental relocating are referred to as move-away custody disputes. These are governed by several laws and ever-evolving court decisions that lead judges to make rather unique determinations in each case. As a consequence, the outcome of any situation where a court must decide how child custody should be modified – if at all – is unpredictable.
This process begins when the parent who intends to move informs the other parent within 45 days of their plans. If the other parent intends to stay, they can petition the court for a modification of the custody order, or the parent who is relocating can seek permission from the court to move with the child.
Whether the intended move is within or beyond California’s borders is irrelevant if the distance is more than 50 miles or a distance that would disrupt the current custodial arrangement. Generally speaking, the court is more inclined to approve the move when the parent with primary custody is relocating. If custody is shared, the court will evaluate what is in the child’s best interests when modifying the custody order.
Typically, the court will take the following into account:
- How far the move is and if visitation for the other parent is feasible.
- The reason for the move, particularly to ensure it is not an attempt to deprive the other parent of access to his or her child.
- Each parent’s relationship with the child and amount of time spent with him or her.
- The child’s age, needs, and preferences.
- The child’s ties to his or her community and family in both their current and proposed locations.
- Which parent is more likely to encourage frequent and continued contact with the other parent.
When it comes down to it, it’s not an easy matter to deal with when one parent needs or wants to relocate. In an ideal situation, neither parent will need to do so, but life doesn’t always work out that way – especially when two ex-spouses are trying to rebuild their own individual lives after a divorce.
Do You Need Help with a Child Custody Modification?
Whether you’re trying to relocate or have another reason for seeking a modification of your current child custody order, get in touch with Claery & Hammond, LLP for the legal support your need. Our attorneys have the skill and experience it takes to help you assess your situation and take advantage of opportunities that may help you achieve your overall goals.
Rest assured that our services are personalized to each client. This means your concerns about your child custody order and its specific attributes will be taken into account. If you want to learn more about how we can help, get in touch with Claery & Hammond, LLP today.