When dealing with permanent child custody a parent needs to identify whether or not they are allowed to move their child with them before making a decision to relocate outside of the state. A standard provision in a permanent child custody and visitation order is that neither parent is permitted to change the residence of the child unless he or she has received written consent from the other parent or an additional court order.
Family Court Decision
Family courts take a number of factors into consideration when determining whether a parent will be permitted to move away with a child. This analysis usually mirrors the “best interest of the child” analysis, which determines the outcome of any other custody and visitation order. These factors include:
- The child’s stability in the current custody arrangement
- How far away the distance of the new home is
- Financial impact on both parents
- Age of the child
- Current relationship between the child and both parents
- The co-parenting relationship that exists between both parents
- The child’s wishes (this is dependent on the child’s age)
- How available are the special accommodations the child needs?
- Reasons for the proposed move
- Any other factors the court deems to be relevant
California Family Code section 7501
Under the California Family Code section 7501, “a parent entitled to custody of a child has a right to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or welfare of the child.” The custodial parent is not required to prove that the move is “necessary” in any way.
Modification of Court Orders
It is important to consider any current child custody and visitation orders at the onset of a moving away situation because a move-away request is essentially a request to modify the current court orders. So if a current court order is in place and you do not have the other parent’s written agreement you must request the court’s permission to move with your child