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Parental relocation of custodial parents

Raising a child in California is no easy task. A lot goes into raising a child, and when a parent has sole custody of a child, he or she constantly makes decisions based on the best interests of their child. However, when this decision is to move to a different city or state, there are some considerations to make. While sole custody is established, visitation might exist for a non-custodial parent. Whether this occurs every other weekend, one day a week or one weekend a month, visitation rights might be interrupted by a move. Thus, when a parent seeks to relocate, he or she needs to revisit a child custody order.

Unless there is an agreement in place, a relocation dispute could arise when a non-custodial parent objects to the intended move because of the impact the move could have on his or her custody or visitation rights. If parent are unable to reach a resolution, it is left up to the courts to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Thus, it might result in a judge ordering the requirement of the custodial parent remaining in the state.

In some cases, a custody agreement might have express consent. This means that relocation is consented to and a visitation schedule is proposed. There could also be a notice and consent clause in the custody order. This requires that a custodial parent give notice, usually in writing, to the noncustodial parent within a certain time period. In addition to this requirement, some state will require a noncustodial parent to consent to the relocation. Otherwise, a noncustodial parent may object.

A custodial parent might be required to prove that relocation is in their best interests. There must be a good faith reason, especially if the move could disrupt the child's school, emotional and social stability. Some good faith reasons include better cost of living, wanting to be closer to one's family to help with child care responsibility, a new job offer and continuing one's education.

Life can bring many changes, and for some parents, this means making a major change and moving to a new location. While this can improve the life of the parent and their child, it might be necessary to prove this in court. Thus, parents should understand this matter and how best to move forward with it.

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