Parental Relocation

Parental Relocation & Child Custody

Orange County Divorce & Family Lawyer

For both parents and the court, the mental and physical well-being of the children becomes one of the top priorities. This consideration will determine, in large part, who will have custody of the children, how much visitation will be allowed, and how restricted the parents are from relocating after the divorce.

Some of the specific factors the court will assess include: 

  • The stability of the child and ability to continue in the current custody arrangement
  • How far away the parent is moving
  • How old the child is
  • What the child's relationship is with both of his / her parents
  • How cooperative, courteous, and communicative the parents of child are able to be, and how willing and able they are to put their children's interests above their own
  • If the child is old enough, his or her preferences in the matter
  • The parent's reasons for moving
  • How much custody is currently shared under the current agreement

Whether it is for a new job, financial situation or for family reasons, relocating is not necessarily a bad thing. The reason that the courts require a legal process is in order to preserve the rights of the visiting parent, who is likely providing the custodial parent with child support. While it does require approval by the court, obtaining a move away order is not impossible, especially when submitted by an experienced divorce attorney in Orange County.

Move-Away Orders in California

No court can keep an adult from changing residency. However, when custody is issued to one parent, it comes with certain conditions. These conditions make it possible for the court to prevent a child from being moved away from their other parent and the community in which they were raised. For this reason, when a parent wants to relocate and take their child with them, they will need to show the court that the move is in the best interest of the child. This applies to all relocations, whether it is within the county or to an entirely different state. 

Case law on the matter of parental relocation in California favors the custodial parent, meaning that the chances of obtaining a move away order start out optimistic. However, the court also recognizes that the custodial parent’s right to move the child can be waived if the other parent contests, presenting evidence showing that the move is not in the best interest of the child. Given a child’s need for nourishing relationships with both parents, stunting a move away order is not very difficult. 

What if I’m not the custodial parent?

Parents that do not have custody of the child do not need to endure the same scrutiny when wishing to relocate. However, moving away from the child may result in a forfeiture of their visitation rights, either partially or fully. This is simply because the farther they are from the child, the more difficult it is for the child to spend time with both parents as the court originally ordered. Apart from financial strain, courts tend to shy away from requiring the child to travel too much because, depending on their age, it can be difficult on their emotional and mental state. As the non-custodial parent, you do not have to be kept from pursuing new career and life goals. However, you should not have to sacrifice your relationship with your child because of relocation.

Get help from a custody lawyer in Orange County, CA!

Finding legal representation to assist you in preserving your rights to visitation in spite of a recent move can help your chances. At our firm, our Orange County divorce attorney assists both custodial and non-custodial parents retain their rights concerning their children while also being able to pursue new life chances.

Contact Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC to learn more about how we can help you with your move away order. 

  • "I used Mr. Gibbs for my divorce. He was great, very knowledgeable and professional! He was excellent at letting me know the options I had and pointing me in the best direction. He was upfront and honest about outcomes. I was very happy with his service."
    Joshua Lott
  • "I could not have asked for a better experience in the midst of a bad situation than working with Mr. Gibbs. He was honest and fair and patient and kind."
    Rebecca Sterling
  • "He is a great family law attorney and I would definitely recommend him to a friend or family member in need."
    Les D.
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