Modesto Family Law Attorney
Child custody issues can be complicated, especially if one parent decides to move away. Although child custody and visitation agreements are difficult to modify, the child's custodial parent/caregiver might want to move to a different state or city at some point. If the noncustodial parent is entitled to visitation and parenting time, though, the custodial parent may not be allowed to move. Relocation can cause a significant amount of tension between the child's parents.
If you are facing a relocation dispute in Modesto or the surrounding area, our Modesto family lawyer can help you maintain a fair child custody agreement. Schedule your free case evaluation today to begin building a case that protects your rights and your child's future.
Joint Custody & Sole Custody
In California, parents with joint custody hold an equal burden of proof. In other words, the court will hold each parent's opinion as equally valuable during the relocation hearing. If one parent has sole custody of the child, the noncustodial parent must be able to demonstrate that the child should/should not relocate. Legally, the parent with custody of the child has the presumptive right. Unless the other parent can show that the relocation would be detrimental to the child, the court will automatically side with the custodial parent.
How does the court determine relocation?
Like any child custody issue, relocation is determined by the best interest of the child. A parent might want to move because of a job opportunity, new relationship, living expenses, etc. However, relocation may not be fair to the other parent. The court will take a variety of factors into consideration to determine whether or not relocation is better for the child than his/her current living situation. First, the court assumes that the relocating parent will inform that noncustodial parent that he/she intends to move.
If the noncustodial parent is willing to deal with the change, the court will allow the relocation. If the noncustodial parent does not agree with the terms of the relocation, the court will determine whether or not the custodial parent can move based on the best interest of the child. In some situations, the judge may speak with the child to determine whether or not he/she wants to move. This factor depends on the age and maturity of the child.
The distance between the new and old home will affect the court's decision as well. If the noncustodial parent can reasonably maintain his/her relationship with the child, the court may allow the custodial parent to relocate with the child. If the noncustodial parent cannot reasonably continue to visit the child, the judge may not allow the custodial parent to relocate. Sometimes, the court allows the relocation if the custodial parent is willing to absorb any additional travel costs used by the other parent to visit the child in the new home.
The court will also seek to determine whether or not the relocation will improve or decrease the child's quality of life. For instance – will the relocation allow the custodial parent to better provide for the child? Will the child have additional educational and recreational opportunities at the new home? These considerations will help the judge decide if the move is in the child's best interest.
What can Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated do for you?
Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated can help you obtain a fair relocation ruling. If you're facing a complex child relocation case, our firm can help you understand your legal rights and options. We can help you gather evidence to support your case, including the wishes of the child or professional testimony. We have handled more than 2,500 family law cases and is ready to put this experience to work for your case. Contact us today to see what our Modesto family attorney can do for you.