Law Office of Christopher W. Caine.

Dealing With A Move-Away/Relocation Dispute In California


August 16, 2017

A custodial parent requesting the court to allow him or her to move the child to a location that would interfere with the non custodial parent’s visitation is commonly referred to as a move-away or relocation case. Move-away cases are often the most difficult disputes that a divorcing couple may face. A court’s ruling in a move-away or relocation case can have a profound impact on all the parties involved.  Unless there is an agreement, parents who wish to move their child must seek permission from the court before doing so.

Factors Courts Consider in Move-Away Disputes

Courts will determine whether to grant a move-away request based on a number of factors, including the following:

  • Reason for the proposed move
  • Child’s interest in stability
  • The distance of the move
  • The age of the child
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • Relationship between the parents
  • The wishes of the child
  • The child’s community ties
  • The child’s health and educational needs
  • The child’s circle of friends

Strategies for the Move-Away Parent

Some strategies that should considered by the parent who would like to relocate with the children are as follows:

  • Try to gain sole custody of child.
  • Do not permit an initial custody order to have any move-away restrictions.
  • Encourage the relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Involve the other parent in major decisions affecting your child.
  • Avoid making negative comments about the other parent in the presence of the child.
  • If the other parent breaks his or her visitation plans with the child, maintain a calendar that notes the time that parent breaks visitation plans.
  • Share your proposed custody/visitation plan with the custody evaluator and the court.
  • Research housing, schools in the proposed area
  • Make sure that you will have a source of income after the move.
  • Try to move to a location where you have extended family or a new spouse or partner.

Strategies for the Parent Objecting to the Move-Away

Some strategies that should considered by the parent who is objecting to the move are as follows:

  • Try to gain joint physical custody that provides you as much of a timeshare as possible.
  • Try to include move-away restrictions in the initial custody order
  • Encourage the relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Be involved in the major decisions affecting your child.
  • Avoid making negative comments about the other parent in the presence of the child.
  • Exercise all of your visitation rights.
  • If the custodial parent requests to move the child, ask for a thorough custody evaluation.
  • Make sure you know the names of the child’s best friends, teachers, and doctors.

Courts generally place great weight on the custody evaluation and its recommendations. Therefore it is essential to work with an attorney who understands the evaluation process and properly helps you in preparing for it. If you are involved in Move-away and Relocation Disputes in California, you should not waste any time and retain the services of qualified legal counsel immediately.

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About the Author

Mr. Caine is the attorney in the Law Office of Christopher W. Caine. The office focuses its practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Elder Care Law, Bankruptcy, and Family Law.

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