When you and your former spouse finalized your custody agreement, you had certain expectations for how often you would spend time with your children. However, if the other parent makes the decision to move to another state, it create complications.
Parents should know what California law dictates for child custody agreements when one parent wants to move and be prepared to advocate for their role in the lives of their children. The law differs depending on whether your agreement awards one parent sole physical custody or shared custody between the two.
Sole or joint physical custody
Generally speaking, parents who are awarded permanent sole physical custody have the right to move away with their children whenever they choose. There is an exception if the other parent can prove that the move would be harmful for the children.
If parents share physical custody of the children and one parent wants to move with the children while the other does not, it is the responsibility of the parent who desires to move to show the court that the move is in the best interest of the children.
If there is any dispute, the court will review your current parenting schedule rather than one outlined in the original parenting agreement.
Is my custody agreement permanent?
At times, it is not clear whether a custody order is permanent or temporary. If you believe your custody agreement is temporary, you can work with a family law attorney to determine the status of the order. An attorney can also help with a custody modification to address this potentially substantial life change.
Regardless of the nature of your current custody agreement, you can advocate for your parenting position and ensure you maintain a quality relationship with your children, no matter where they live.