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How to handle child custody when a parent wants to relocate

When two parents decide to put an end to the fighting and dissolve their marriage, it may be the easiest decision in the process. Once a divorce has been initiated, the biggest issue may be child custody and where they kids will reside. California has laws regarding these matters, but parents may still need help to arrive at the best solutions. 

When one parent has been granted sole custody and wishes to move out of state, the noncustodial parent would have to show proof that such a move would be detrimental to any child involved. If there is no proof that a child would be harmed, then the custodial parent would likely be given permission to make the change. However, if the parenting wanting to move does not have sole custody, or if the other parent can show just cause to block a relocation, then a family court judge would have to make a determination regarding the matter.

When the parents share joint custody, a judge would likely consider the actual parenting schedule that is in place at the time of the petition to move. Regardless of the plan that was agreed upon originally, the actual parenting time for each parent will play a significant part in the decision as to whether a move would be beneficial. In addition, a court will consider the ties that a child has to the state -- including relatives, schools and medical providers -- before ruling that a parent may relocate. 

While there are ways to stay in touch with one's children in the event a move has occurred, parents are encouraged to address this possibility at the time they negotiate a child custody plan. It is vital to make provisions to protect one's parenting rights before a serious issue presents itself, either through a relocation request or other major change that could negatively impact the time one parent spends with the children. California parents who are struggling with this issue may benefit from the experience and compassion of a savvy family law attorney who understands the complex emotions and concerns that parents have when addressing these serious issues.

Source:, ""Move-Away" Situations", Accessed on Aug. 10, 2017

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