Understanding California Move Away Cases

It is never easy to separate a child from a parent. The separation may leave a significant impact on the child’s development and overall quality of life. It will affect the amount of time the child will spend with the other parent. Depending on the age of the child, they may not be mentally or emotionally capable of understanding the current situation between the parents’ separation/divorce.

This is why “move away” cases are some of the most difficult to win in a family court. All it takes is one judge to decide how the child’s day-to-day life will change for as long as the child is dependent on a parent to provide for them.

Due Process in Move Away Cases

Move away cases in California are often determined by the current custody and visitation orders provided when the parents separated/divorced. The court often doesn’t hold a hearing if these orders aren’t majorly affected. This is particularly the case if one parent has sole physical custody of the child. They already have primary responsibility for raising the child and spend the most time with them.

If the parents share joint physical custody of the child, then a revision of the custody and visitation orders may be necessary. It’s recommended the parents mediate a new parent plan. If they cannot agree, then the court has to have a hearing about whether to grant move away.

How is Move Away Determined?

Ultimately, the court needs to figure out what is in the best interest of the child in regards to:

  • The reason for the move
  • How it will affect the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • If it will affect his or her education and environment
  • The proximity of extra support, such as grandparents or other relatives

In California, the burden falls on the parent not moving away with the child. They have to prove the move will detrimentally affect the child’s day to day life or their relationship with the child. Often, child psychologists, counselors, educators, and other professionals will be asked to give testimony for the sake of the child.

However, California law also permits that children may offer testimony if they have a preference in the move and are mature enough to make decisions. This is especially true of children 14 years or older.

Examples of strong reasons for a parent to move away with the child would be for a more stable family support system, a better paying job, or because of a remarriage. Strong reasons against the move can involve the distance of the move, how close the child is emotionally to the non-custody parent, and how the child’s daily life and relationships with friends, grandparents and others will be affected.

In the End, the Court Decides

Even if a reason sounds excellent, it might not win the case. Take the time to learn what the court is looking for in these cases. Learn the process involved in the litigation, if possible. It’s also in your best interest to seek out legal help or advice if you can. That way, the judge is more likely to see you in a favorable light when it comes down to the final decision.

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Written by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation

Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation

Welcome to Ahluwalia Law, P.C., the home of Attorney Madan Ahluwalia. Madan has been practicing law since 1994, and has been managing his own firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995. He is passionate about building long-lasting relationships with each client, which begins by offering affordable, efficient, and personalized services.