Los Angeles Child Move Aways and Relocation Attorney
For more information on Move-Away & Relocation issues, speak with a Los Angeles child move away and relocation lawyer at Fernandez & Karney. We have successfully handled thousands of family law cases and will put this experience to work for you.
Certified Family Law Specialists
Over 50 years of combined experience
Experienced with complex divorce & child custody cases
A “move-away” case occurs when one parent asks the court’s permission to move the child(ren) away far enough that it disrupts the other parents’ custodial or visitation time. Regardless of the actual distance, if the move impacts the current custody agreement, the moving parent will need to request a new custody and visitation order. Due to potential consequences of approving or denying a move-away request, the court will consider many factors prior to making a ruling.
Whether you are a parent looking to relocate your child to another city or state, or you oppose the intended relocation of your child, it is essential that you contact a seasoned, knowledgeable Los Angeles move-away attorney immediately to ensure all necessary issues are addressed, and to bring you the best possible outcome for your case.
Call Fernandez & Karney today to discuss your case. Attorneys Steven Fernandez and Mark Karney have over 55 years of combined experience exclusively handling family law cases. Additionally, both Steve and Mark are Certified Family Law Specialists, which means they achieved the highest level of expertise in family law related matters.
California Child Custody Relocation Laws
Parents across California seek to move with their children for various reasons including, but not limited to the desire to change jobs, be closer to family, or continue their education. Whenever a move is necessary, the non-moving parent may raise concerns about child visitation and the move overall.
In California, a parent with sole physical custody of a child has the presumptive right to change the child’s residence, subject to the court’s ability to prevent a relocation that would “prejudice the rights or welfare” of the child per Family Code 7501, which states the following:
- A parent entitled to the custody of a child has a right to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child; and
- It is the intent of the Legislature to affirm the decision in In re Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25, and to declare that ruling to be the public policy and law of this state.
Moreover, the custodial parent does not have to show that the move is “necessary,” assuming the parent is moving in good faith. (See Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25).
Parent with Custody Wants to Move
A non-custodial parent has the ability to challenge the custodial parent’s relocation through a custody modification. However, the custody modification must be based on a substantial change in circumstances that renders it “essential or expedient for the welfare of the children” that there be a custody change.
The non-custodial parent must prove the proposed move would be detrimental to the child. Examples of this may include:
- Detriment to the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent; and/or
- The child’s need for continuity and stability in the current custody arrangement.
Move-Away Parent has Joint Physical Custody
When parents are currently exercising joint physical custody, the court must approach the move-away case de novo. This means that the court decides the case as if custody is a new matter before the court, and an arrangement is determined based on the child’s “best interests.”
In the context of child custody cases, focusing on the child’s “best interests” means that all custody and visitation discussions and decisions are made with the ultimate goal of fostering and encouraging the child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development into young adulthood. For a full definition of best interests and its defining factors, see California Family Code 3011, 3020, 3040.
This standard only applies if the parents are truly practicing joint physical custody. If the move-away parent is already exercising the actual majority of custody, then the Burgess standard as discussed above is applied because the move-away parent is deemed to have “de facto” physical custody.
Among the factors that the court ordinarily should consider when deciding whether to modify a custody order in light of the custodial parent’s proposal to change the residence of the child are the following: the children’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement; the distance of the move; the age of the children; the children’s relationship with both parents; the relationship between the parents including, but not limited to, their ability to communicate and cooperate effectively and their willingness to put the interests of the children above their individual interests; the wishes of the children if they are mature enough for such an inquiry to be appropriate; the reasons for the proposed move; and the extent to which the parents currently are sharing custody. Marriage of LaMusga (2004) 32 Cal. 4th 1072, 1101.
Can I Relocate with My Child if There is No Custody Order in Place?
When no final custody order is in place at the time of the proposed move, then a move-away request is decided solely on the “best interest of the child” standard.
It does not matter if the move-away dispute arises in an initial custody adjudication as in Burgess or a modification proceeding as in LaMusga. As soon as the parent contesting the move alleges “detriment to the child” from the proposed relocation, the trial court must consider all relevant factors in deciding whether a change in custody would be in the child’s best interest.
What the Court Considers During a Child Relocation Hearing
When considering a child relocation, the court must ensure that the child’s relationship with their other parent is protected and weigh the moving parent’s right to move freely against the child’s right to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents as well as the custodial rights of the non-moving parent.
In relocation proceedings, the court will primarily be concerned with the effect the relocation will have on the child or children in question. Health and financial stability are among, but not limited to, the many factors considered. Quite often, the court will enlist the assistance of a child custody evaluator to determine what custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child(ren).
The court will consider such factors as:
- The age of the child
- The reason for the proposed move
- The distance of the proposed move
- The parents’ existing custody arrangement
- The social impact the move will have on the child
- The child’s wishes, depending upon his or her age
- The psychological impact the move will have on the child
- The impact the move will have on the child’s education
- The impact the move will have on the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent
Fernandez & Karney are very successful in Los Angeles parental relocation and move-away cases. Their team works hard to ensure all parties remember that the real focus in any custody dispute is the child. We strive toward a result that is in the best interests of the child and works for all parties involved.
For more information on move-away and relocation issues, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your concerns. When you retain Fernandez & Karney, you have a team of experienced Los Angeles child move-away and relocation lawyers, forensic accountants, investigators, and highly skilled support staff resolving your case.
How Can an Attorney Help With My Move-Away and Relocation Case?
A child custody and relocation attorney is your advocate and best source of advice from the very beginning of your relocation case to the end. He or she will stand beside you and guide you acting as your counselor both inside and outside of the courtroom. Your attorney knows how important a relocation is to you and your child’s relationship and will fight tirelessly on your behalf.
Your child custody and relocation attorney is experienced in these matters and knows the court system, opponents, judges, and any potential obstacles in the way of your desires for yourself and your child. He or she is prepared to present your case in the best possible light to the court.
Letting a skilled attorney handle your relocation matter ensures you are not in violation of California child custody and relocation laws at any time. This will keep you from legal trouble or jeopardizing your parental rights.
Do not leave anything to chance when it comes to your relationship with your child. Contact an experienced Los Angeles child move-away and relocation attorney to successfully navigate the intricacies and complexities of your relocation case.
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1 Certified Family Law Specialists
2 Over 50+ years of combined experience
3 Experienced with complex divorce and child custody cases