Parental move-aways are particularly common in California’ mobile society. Parents often move between cities, regions, states or even internationally, and custody and visitation must be adapted to these changes. If a parent already has sole physical custody of a minor, it is presumed that the minor should continue to live primarily with that parent after a move. However, when the parents have joint physical custody, the court must choose between the parents after a move-away.
In determining which parent should have primary physical custody after a parental relocation, the court’s decision must be based on the child’s best interests. The court is not interested in the parents’ preferences or even the child’s wishes, but rather must consider whether the child’s development will be promoted by living with either parent. This “best interests” analysis requires full consideration of each parent’s parenting skills, personality, education, career, housing, lifestyle, extended family relationships. This complex analysis often requires multiple court hearings over a period of months, and may also involve a custody evaluator.
Our attorneys are experienced in parental relocation cases involving moves between California cities and regions, different states and internationally. We have expertise not only in the “best interests” evaluation process but in the alternatives and limitations the court may consider for the child’s protection.
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