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Move-away disputes and relocation cases often prove to be some of the toughest conflicts our clients face. Problems are bound to come up when a custodial parent wants to move with their child somewhere that will interfere with the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. The same applies when a parent who shares joint custody wants to move away with their child. What about the other parent’s rights? Can they stop the move?
The consequences of a court’s ruling in a move-away case can be profound on both parents and children. A move could be disputed even at a distance of 50 miles away – so long as the new arrangement would disrupt the other parent’s ability to see their children under the current parenting plan in effect. As a result, both the emotional and economic stakes tend to run high in move-away cases.
At Moradi Saslaw, our experienced attorneys help:
The courts cannot prevent adults from moving and traveling freely across the country. The issue becomes whether a parent can take their child with them wherever they go.
Whichever side of a move-away case you’re on, you have legal options to help protect your rights. If one parent wants to move away during your divorce, that could play a major role in the custody arrangement you ultimately get. If you already have a custody arrangement in place, one parent’s move could trigger a re-evaluation of the original custody terms.
With so much on the line, you need a family attorney you can trust to handle the sensitive issues behind your move-away dispute. Call our San Francisco family law firm now at (415) 625-4587 to discuss your best strategies for moving forward.
Unless both parents agree to the move, a parent who wants to move with their child must ask permission from the California family court before doing so.
Move-away disputes make up a complex area of law that’s constantly evolving with new court decisions. In general, relocation cases are usually decided in the following ways:
If one parent has sole physical custody of the child, they may have an easier time getting court permission to move away. In such cases, the non-custodial parent may successfully prevent the move if they can prove to the court that:
Move-away cases get complicated because every family situation is so unique. Any existing custody arrangements, domestic violence charges, or family court rulings could affect the outcome of your move-away dispute. California courts will look into all the relevant facts when making their decision.
When it comes to child custody matters, California family courts focus primarily on making decisions in the best interests of the child. Move-away requests are similar.
To determine whether to grant a move-away request or not, courts will consider:
The best approach takes all of these factors into consideration in order to make a successful argument for your case – whether that’s for or against the move being proposed.
Addressing all of these issues properly requires a lawyer who’s familiar enough with this area of law to identify the most important points of your case.
If any of these factors work to your disadvantage, it’s often better to address them head-on to mitigate their effects. A knowledgeable family lawyer can help you present the most important issues in a way that emphasizes the greatest strengths of your argument.
Every situation is unique and every family has different needs, which is why it’s important to consult with a competent family law attorney who can put your best interests forward. However, below are general strategies to consider depending on where you stand.
Whichever side you’re on in a move-away dispute, it’s critical to plan ahead and start working on your case early. You’ll need time to address all your issues and determine the best strategy for your position, ideally with the help of a seasoned legal professional.
No matter what, it’s important to approach the move-away dispute process in good faith. Unless a parent has a history of domestic violence, California courts believe the best interests of a child involve maintaining a relationship with both of their parents as much as possible. Moving away to limit your co-parent’s access to your child will not make a good impression on the court. Instead, courts value your ability to cooperate, compromise, and put your child first.
If you and your co-parent are unable to come to a custody agreement, you may agree to do a custody evaluation or the court may order the evaluation.
A custody evaluation is performed by a psychologist or other mental health professional. As part of the process, the custody evaluator will read and consider both parents’ custody proposals.
A typical custody evaluation will proceed in several stages over a period of time. Usually, the process lasts about three months but the duration could be longer. Although it’s not required, a custody evaluation will commonly include the following parts:
Courts usually place great weight on the custody evaluation and the recommendations that result. Therefore, it’s essential to work with a family law attorney who understands the evaluation process in order to help you properly prepare for it.
We understand the high stakes involved in move-away disputes and that nothing is more important than one’s child. Geographical distance can profoundly affect a parent’s relationship with their child – especially when it comes to younger children. Move-away cases have a greater chance of resolving smoothly when both parents are willing to come to the negotiation table in good faith. Your case could become more difficult if your co-parent is unwilling to cooperate or compromise. The right advocate could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
At Moradi Saslaw, our knowledgeable family law attorneys will help you prepare for your custody evaluation by explaining the process, coaching you on how to make the best impression during the evaluation, and negotiating for a specific evaluator. Contact our San Francisco family law offices now at(415) 625-4587 to get started.