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Overview of California's relocation and custody laws

When you initiate a divorce, your family will certainly change. You may even want to relocate to start a new life or get a new job. If you are the custodial parent, you must follow the move-away laws in California before packing up your bags and taking your child to a new city.

While California laws provide you with the right to change your child's residence, the core concern in a custody case is what is best for your child. If moving away will have a negative impact on your son or daughter, the judge may decide to give your ex custody instead. Here are some important considerations in move-away cases. 

Sending a notice

If you plan to move neighborhoods or change residences, you must provide the other parent with adequate notice. California law requires you to send a notice 45 days before you plan to move. A move counts as any change of residence that lasts more than 30 days. The other parent has the right to object to the move and request a custody modification from the court. If this happens, the court will schedule a hearing. 

Relocation hearing

The judge will examine various factors to decide whether a change in custody plan is necessary. Here are some top considerations in move-away cases:

  • The child's need for stability and continuity
  • The distance of the relocation
  • The child's relationship with each parent
  • The reason for the move
  • The ability of each parent to communicate with one another
  • The child's relationships with any family members in the present and new locations

Both you and the other parent will be able to make points to bolster your arguments. Ultimately, the judge will make a determination based on what is best for your child. 

Relocating can be a complex task during and after a divorce. That said, it may be a worthy pursuit if you truly believe it is best for you and your child.

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