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FAMILY LAW ARTICLES

January 22, 2021
What the Courts Consider Before Granting a Move Away

Are you a divorced parent considering an out-of-state move and wondering whether the other party can put a damper on your plans through the court system? Or perhaps you’re a non-custodial parent who is concerned that an upcoming move on the part of your ex-spouse won’t serve the best interests of your child? Following are several questions courts consider before granting a move-away petition involving a minor. 

Who is the Primary Custodian?

The first question the court will consider is which party has primary custody of the child. In California, parents with sole custody have a presumptive right to move out of state. Although this right is not absolute, the objecting party must show that the move would be detrimental to the child’s best interests.

Can the Objecting Party Prove That the Move Would Be Detrimental to the Child?

The main objective of the family court is to act in the best interests of the child. The court will reevaluate if the objecting party can offer compelling proof that the child would experience a significantly decreased quality of life due to the move.

Will the Move Damage the Child’s Relationship With the Non-Custodial Parent?

The court will also consider what effect the move will have on the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. For instance, if a close bond exists between them and the move involved obstacles that would impose considerable barriers to a reasonable visitation schedule, the court may opt to reevaluate the terms of the custodial agreement. The most common reason for this scenario is when the move is at such a distance that it would make regular visitation costs and time prohibitive. 

What is the Child’s Age and Level of Maturity?

The child’s age and level of maturity also play an essential role in determining whether the court will grant the move-away order. Very young children, for instance, are generally not considered to be able to make the best decisions for themselves, so as a general rule, their wishes will carry less weight with the courts than that of their older siblings. 

What Are the Wishes of the Child?

Suppose the child is of sufficient age to be allowed significant input into the outcome of the court proceedings. In that case, the court will usually give their wishes serious consideration. For instance, high school students who are well-established in their schools may not wish to accompany their custodial parent in a move to a different state. 

The services of a skilled, experienced family law lawyer in Ventura, CA, can help you successfully navigate the maze involved in successfully setting up an out-of-state move. As well as represent you as the objecting party if you have concerns that a proposed upcoming move by your ex-spouse will be detrimental to your child or children. Please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. 

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