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Family Law

Newport Beach Move Away & Relocation Lawyers

Parental Relocation & Move Away Cases In California

After a divorce or separation, you may encounter a situation where you want to move away with your children. Or, you may have just been informed by your ex that he or she wants to move to another county, state, or even country. What can you do in these scenarios to make sure your relationship with your children is not adversely affected? How can you do the right thing for yourself and your children, without violating your current custody or visitation agreement?

An Orange County custody attorney at Sullivan Law & Associates can advise you of your rights and legal options regarding parental relocation. Often referred to as move away cases, these need to be addressed through the appropriate channels to make sure you are not acting in violation of a court order. A clear and intelligent presentation of your case can help you secure the desired result. Our parental relocation attorneys in Newport Beach have represented parents on both sides of relocation matters. To find out how we can help you, call us at (949) 590-8100.

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Getting Court Approval for Parental Relocation

When a parent has sole custody of a child, he or she may be able to travel freely and even relocate, in certain circumstances. It is important to carefully review your existing custody order to make sure you do not violate it in any way. If relocation would impact the other parent’s visitation schedule, or if you have shared custody, you will need to go through the court.

In California, a family law judge will consider the following in determining whether to approve or deny a change in custody as a result of parental relocation:

  • The distance of the proposed move;
  • The reason for the move;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The parent’s relationship with one another and their ability to communicate with one another;
  • Whether the move would cause harm to the child;
  • How the move may benefit the child;
  • The educational, emotional, and physical needs of the child, and how the move will affect these;
  • Whether the move will harm the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent; and
  • The child’s relationships with extended family in the current and proposed location.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Relocate With My Child To Another State Without A Move-Away Order?

Whether you can relocate with your children depends on various factors. If you and the other parent can reach an agreement on child custody and visitation, you can submit that agreement to the family law court, even for move-away situations. However, it can be challenging to find common ground when both parents desire involvement in their children’s lives. In such cases, seeking court intervention might be the only option.

If you haven’t obtained a court order and are unable to reach an agreement, relocating is not permissible. Doing so without a court order and depriving the other parent of custody or visitation can lead to criminal penalties and fines as it falls under the category of child abduction. Therefore, it is crucial to seek approval either from the court or the other party before moving with your children.

If I Request A Move-Away Order, Is It Possible To Lose Primary Physical Custody Of My Child If The Request Is Denied?

When considering a move-away order, the court must carefully weigh the best interests of the child. If the other parent can demonstrate that the relocation would be detrimental to the child, they may request a change in primary physical custody in response to your move-away request.

While it is unlikely that you would automatically lose primary physical custody simply by making the request, unless there are significant changes in circumstances, proceeding with the move could result in losing primary physical custody. The court will assess whether changing the custody orders is in the best interest of your child if you decide to move.

What If I Want To Move Out Of The Country With My Children?

In recent cases, courts have similarly treated international move-away cases as domestic cases. The court’s primary consideration is the best interest of the child, and it is the responsibility of the non-moving parent to demonstrate that the proposed move would be harmful to the child. International move-away requests have been granted when the non-moving parent fails to establish that the move would be detrimental to the child.

It is important to note that obtaining a move-away request may be more challenging if you plan on relocating out of the country. If the non-moving parent maintains an ongoing relationship with your child, they may easily argue that an international move would disrupt their relationship and hinder continued contact with both parents, thereby causing harm. 

While all move-away cases present complex legal issues, an international move-away case is particularly intricate. It is highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced child custody attorney in Orange County when pursuing move-away orders.

Helping Our Clients Maintain Their Child’s Best Interests

On either side of a move away case, you will benefit from having an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your interests. This may include proving that relocation would not be in your child’s best interests, to prevent your ex from moving away. It may include showing that the move would benefit your child or children if you are the one who wishes to relocate. 

Our Newport Beach parental relocation lawyers can help you in either scenario. We will take the time to provide personal attention so we understand your goals and can preserve your and your child’s best interests. Contact our firm today at (949) 590-8100 to discuss your move away case.