Move-Away Custody Issues in California

Child custody is always a sensitive issue in a divorce. Often, the judge will award physical custody to one parent and visitation rights to the other based on circumstances that will serve the best interest of the child. In general, however, divorce law provides ample opportunity for the child to have significant contact with both parents as much as possible to foster a healthier parent-child relationship.

However, California courts typically allow the parent who has sole custody of child to relocate outside the state unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move will cause considerable harm to the child. Exactly what constitutes harm to a child will depend on the circumstances, but the non-custodial parent has the burden of proof.

But if the parents have joint custody of the child, the burden of proof shifts to the parent who plans to move away if the staying parent objects to the move. The parent who is relocating must show that it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

The judge will determine the wisdom of allowing the custodial arrangement to be modified to accommodate relocation based on the actual time spent by the child with the staying parent rather than the parenting plan made at the time of the divorce. Each case is unique and requires careful study and consideration before the judge can make ruling.

Each state has its own take on how to handle move-away issues. A Manhattan Beach divorce lawyer can prepare and present a case for or against relocation in California that can significantly influence the final decision of the judge. It is essential that the lawyer who handles such a case is experienced in dealing with move-away custody issues in California to obtain the desired results, always in the best interests of the child.


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