When it comes to child custody, there is one thing that is constant: Things change. This means the child custody arrangement that parents establish originally as a part of a divorce, legal separation, or paternity action, will most likely change at some point.
Why do child custody arrangements change? Because families change. Divorce spouses remarry, they relocate for their jobs, they move away, and children’s relationships with their parents can change, especially in the teen years. We are only scratching the surface in regard to what can change because the possibilities are endless.
Do I Need the Court’s Approval?
Clients often ask us, “Can a parent move away with the kids?” This is a good question and all single and divorced parents should know the answer. It depends on the child custody arrangement. If one parent has sole physical custody, he or she should be able to move without any issues.
On the other hand, if the parents have “joint physical custody,” this changes things. If one parent wants to move away with the children and the other objects, it will be up to the moving parent to convince the court that such a move is in the children’s best interests.
“Keep in mind that, although the physical custody label (‘joint’ or ‘sole’) you agree to in your parenting agreement is important, if there is a dispute, the court will usually look at the actual parenting schedule at the time of the move, rather than rely on the schedule the parents put in their parenting agreement,” according to the California Courts.
Speak with an Orange County Divorce Attorney
Whether you are the parent who wants to move to another county or another state with the children, or if you are the parent who is objecting to such a move, we urge you to contact our firm for legal assistance. Move-away actions should not be taken lightly. If a parent moves away with the children without first obtaining approval from the family court, the move can backfire, causing serious legal complications and affecting custody.
For all of your child custody needs in Newport Beach and Orange County, contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP for a free case evaluation.