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Understanding Child Relocation Laws in California

Posted on in Child Custody and Visitation

CA family lawyerWhen parents choose to end their marriage and get divorced, they and their family members must restructure their lives. There is often an adjustment period as children become accustomed to living in two separate homes, but ideally, parents can help them overcome their difficulties by working together to provide for children’s best interests. However, after families have settled into their new living arrangements, parents’ circumstances may change. If a parent decides to move to a new home, they should be sure to understand how this will affect their child custody agreement.

Relocating with a Child

When a parent who has primary physical custody of a child or shares physical custody with the child’s other parent wishes to move to a new home, they must provide notice to the other parent, and they must file a motion in court seeking to have their child custody order modified. If the other parent objects to the move, an evidentiary hearing will be held to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

When determining whether relocation is in a child’s best interests, a family court judge will consider the following factors:

  • How to preserve stability and continuity for children in the parents’ custodial arrangements.
  • The distance the parent intends to move.
  • The children’s age.
  • The children’s current relationship with each parent.
  • The relationship between the parents, including their willingness to cooperate and communicate with each other and put children’s needs ahead of their own interests.
  • The children’s wishes, if they have reached an appropriate level of maturity to be able to express their desires.
  • The reasons the relocating parent plans to move.
  • The parents’ current custody arrangement.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as substance abuse on the part of a parent), courts are likely to try to preserve existing parent/child relationships, and it may be difficult to convince a judge to grant a relocation that would significantly impact a child’s relationship with a parent.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Child Custody Lawyer

If you are a parent who is planning to move, or if your child’s other parent is planning to relocate with your child, you can reach a positive resolution to your case with the help of an experienced Los Gatos family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we can work with you to file the proper motions, ensuring that you meet your legal requirements to request or contest a modification of your child custody order. We will advocate for you in court hearings, helping you reach a resolution that protects your parental rights and your child’s best interests. Contact us at 408-395-8822 for a free consultation.



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