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How does a child custody agreement impact a parental relocation?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Child Custody

Any California family law dispute centered on children can lead to hard feelings and fear as to what the future holds. The objective of a child custody and parenting time agreement is to make sure there is a clear and detailed schedule with each parent’s rights and responsibilities known.

However, if a parent wants to relocate with the child, it can lead to legal disputes and the other parent trying to stop the move. The type of custody agreement the parties have will be a key factor in the court deciding whether to allow an attempted relocation.

Relocations and the importance of the type of custody agreement

Relocations – also referred to as “move away” situations – could happen for many reasons. Perhaps the parent has a job offer that they want to accept. They could have extended family in a different part of the state or in another state or country entirely. Moving could be necessary to further their educational needs. Or they may want to move because they are in a new relationship and it is necessary to do so to pursue it.

Regardless of the reason, the other parent has a say in whether the custodial parent can move with the child. Their parenting time could be limited because of it and a new schedule might be required.

If there is joint physical custody, the child will spend approximately the same amount of time with both parents. With such an arrangement, the parent who wants to move must prove to the court that it is in the child’s best interests. If it is not found to be in their best interests, the court can deny the request.

If there is a sole physical custody agreement in which the custodial parent has the child the bulk of the time, that parent can move if they want to. The other parent must show that the move will be detrimental to the child. The court also analyzes the parenting time schedule as it comes to a decision.

Parental relocation cases may require legal assistance

It is natural for a parent to want to improve their situation with a move and the other parent to protest because it will alter their ability to see the child. There are cases where it is possible to negotiate a reasonable settlement. In others, it must go to court.

When these family law cases come up, it is imperative for the parents to be protected with experienced legal assistance. This is true whether it is the parent who wants to move or the parent who is protesting. Before letting emotions cloud the judgment, it is imperative to have professional help to assess the options.