So, you’ve got a custody order in place, and everything is working smoothly.  All of a sudden you get a job offer in another state.  Or, the other parent lets you know that they will be moving, and that they intend to move the child with them.  There are many reasons that one parent or the other may wish to change locations, and move out of the area.  Maybe one of you is getting remarried.  The new job offer we mentioned above may be coming to fruition.  Maybe one of you needs to move closer to family for a support system.  How does this affect standing custody orders?

Move Away

In California, this situation is called a “move away,” and should be heard in court.  An agreement can be made between the two parties, as long as it is agreed to by both, and submitted to the court for approval.  If this is not possible, hire a child custody attorney, and start preparing your move away case.

What the Court Will Look At

If the parent wishing to move has sole physical (and possibly sole legal) custody, and the non-custodial parent sees the child infrequently, the non-custodial parent has a tough job ahead of them showing the detriment to the child.  If you want to defend your position in this case, spend as much time as you are legally allowed to with your child.  If you’re not interested in having a relationship, but trying to stop the other parent from moving out of spite, your interest will not be considered at great length.

Custodial Parents Who Want to Move

If you are a custodial parent that is considering a move, and you want to keep things as simple as possible, consider the following suggestions:

Be proactive – File an Order to Show Cause on your own, instead of as a reaction to the other parent.

Show your plans – Think of how you will allow the other parent to maintain a relationship with your child, and be prepared to show that you’ve given it some thought.

Let the other parent know – Give them, in writing, as much notice as you possible can.  This is not just for courtesy.  You may not get it through the courts quickly, so you want to act early.

Non – Custodial Parents Who Are Faced with Their Child Moving

If you are faced with your child moving to another state, protect yourself and your relationship with your child.  We mentioned above that you should have a history of showing that spending time with your child is a priority to you.  Here are some other things to consider:

Be proactive – As soon as you hear that the other parent is intending a move, file your Show Cause Order.

Compromise – Although it may not be the optimal situation for you, reach out to the other parent and try to come to an arrangement that you can present and file with the court.  This is the best situation for the child, and the fastest way to settle things, providing you can agree easily.