What Are the Requirements for Parental Relocation in CA?

Are you a Californian parent who you plan to relocate with your child to another part of California or a different state or country? Then you need to make a formal request with a family court. Under the California Family Code 7501, a judge reviews move-away cases to ensure that your proposed relocation is in your child’s best interests to approve it. Working with a family law attorney can help you ensure you build a strong case to present to the judge and your co-parent.

Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, a judge may want to modify court orders regarding child custody and visitation depending on the move you are planning. While the state cannot prevent you, the parent, from relocating, they have authority over your child’s change of residence and how it impacts their quality of life.

What Is the Process to Request Parental Relocation in California?

Although California state laws allow a custodial parent to change the child’s permanent residency when they have sole custody, you need to notify your co-parent as early as possible to give them time to contest if they wish to and give you time to negotiate to find a solution that preserves your parental rights and your child’s well-being.

You need to file a “move-away” petition with your local family court so they can review the case and issue a decision accordingly.

What Factors Does the Judge Consider When Evaluating My Request?

Given each family’s unique dynamics, a judge conducts a thorough assessment of your move-away case to determine whether to approve it and how to modify custody and/or visitation schedules if necessary.

Factors a judge carefully assesses include:

  • Why you are planning to relocate
  • The distance of your proposed new location
  • Current child physical custody arrangements
  • The quality of the child’s relationship with each parent
  • Educational, familial, and communal opportunities for the child at the proposed new location

If your child is old enough to express an opinion, the court may take it into consideration.

What Happens If My Co-Parent Contests My Petition?

If you have sole custody of your child and plan to relocate, the burden of proving that the move would negatively impact your child’s life rests on your co-parent. Regardless of sole or joint custody, your co-parent has the right to contest the move but needs to show that it would be detrimental to your child’s well-being, including educational, social, and familial opportunities.

Finding ways to help your child maintain their relationship with their other parent and any family members easily accessible at their current location can make a positive difference in receiving approval from the judge to move with your child.

Work with a Reputable Family Law Attorney to Plan Your Parental Relocation

If you are considering relocating with your child, speaking with a family law attorney who has experience with move-away cases can make a positive difference in obtaining both your co-parent’s and the judge’s approval. At Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law, we understand how challenging this type of situation can be and we can help you present your case in an honest and positive way that demonstrates how this opportunity can benefit your child.

In addition to preparing your move-away petition, we can help you negotiate with your co-parent to find common ground and ways to amend your current parenting plan to help your child stay in regular contact with both of you. Finding creative solutions is part of what we do, and our team is also available to accompany you at any family court hearing about your case.

Are you a Californian parent planning to relocate with your child? Contact Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law, today at (818) 839-2533 to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys in San Fernando Valley.