Help! Can My Ex Just Move Away With Our Child?

Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi A Professional Law Corporation Family Law

When a couple without children divorce, each is usually free to go wherever they please with no further obligations or need for contact. But a divorced couple with minor children is required to prioritize the needs of those children and where they go and how a move will affect the children becomes an important consideration.

In California, as is true in most states, there are rules divorced parents must follow that limit what actions each parent can take if those actions involve the welfare of their child or children. A parent wanting to move and relocate a child must be ready to demonstrate to a family law court that the move is in the best interests of the child.

At the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi, our Westlake Village child move-away attorneys understand the frustrations on the part of parents – both those who want to relocate and those who oppose the relocation. We help our clients enforce their custodial rights and encourage equitable solutions that support the healthy development of their kids.

A Custodial Parent Has the Right to Relocate with a Child

There are two types of child custody a parent can have – legal custody and physical custody.

  • Legal custody is a parent’s right to make decisions regarding a child’s health and welfare.
  • Physical custody is a parent’s right to have their child live with them.

Each type of custody can be awarded solely to one parent or it can be held jointly between both parents.

But a Child’s Best Interests is the Most Important Consideration

If the noncustodial or joint custodial parent does not agree to the move away, the parent wanting to relocate will need to get a move away order from a family law court. The parent opposing the move away must demonstrate that relocation of the child would not be in the child’s best interests. The parent seeking to move must show how moving supports the best interests of the child.

Considerations of a child’s best interests include:

  • the age of the child
  • the child’s health
  • the relationship between the child and each parent
  • how the move will impact the relationship between the child and each parent
  • the ability of each parent to care for the child
  • whether there is a history of physical or substance abuse with either parent
  • the child’s connections to the current community
  • whether physical custody of the child should be modified because of the move

A court will generally want to preserve a child’s ability to have frequent and consistent contact with both parents if that is in the child’s best interests. Any change in custody will likely also include visitation rights to the noncustodial or lesser joint custodial parent.

What to Do if You Want to Obtain or Oppose a Move Away Order

Whether you want to move away with your child, or you want to prevent your ex from moving away with your child, you need to have solid reasons why it is or is not going to be beneficial for your child to make the move.

Convincing a family law court judge who will provide the best circumstances, support, and opportunities for your child is critical to your argument. Custody determinations can be complex and courts will often appoint independent persons to evaluate the circumstances and make a recommendation to the court.

When it comes to your children, there is too much at stake not to get the help you need to make sure you make a strong argument for your position. The Westlake Village child move-away lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi will ensure that your reasons for staying or going are persuasive and convincing. To consult with one of our attorneys, please contact us here or call us at 805-379-4550.

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