What You Need to Know About California Child Relocation Laws

January 30, 2020
Picture of girl with moving boxes

Child custody is a complex area of family law. While the court considers the needs of the child above all else, there are many factors that affect the child’s needs and best interests. If you plan on relocating with your minor child when you and the other parent are not together, it is important to familiarize yourself with California child relocation laws. You may also want to discuss your situation with our San Jose family law firm.

California’s Custody Relocation Statute

California child relocation laws are covered under California Family Code Section 7501. This short statute is straightforward but is broad enough for judicial interpretation and discretion. Under this law, a parent with primary physical custody can move with the minor child if they have:

  • The other parent’s agreement
  • Court order

The court is generally likely to allow a parent to move away with their children if they are the primary parent. In these situations, the burden of proof is on the non-custodial parent to prove that the move would harm the child. Joint custody agreements are more complicated.

How Far Can You Move When You Have Joint Custody?

There is no set distance that you can move without triggering a move-away case in California. Any move that would disrupt the current custody arrangement requires consent or court order.

Per the Judicial Branch of California, the burden of proof switches when parents share joint custody. If one parent wants to move and one parent disputes the move, the parent initiating the move must demonstrate that the change in parenting plan is in the best interests of the child.

Moving Out of State If There Is No Custody Agreement in Place

If there is no custody order in place, there is technically nothing preventing a parent from moving out of state with their minor child. However, it may not be in your best interests to move without getting a visitation schedule in place and securing a court order allowing the move. If you move and the other parent files for custody, the court may order you to return to California with your child.

Why You Need a San Jose Child Custody Attorney If You Plan on Moving

Whether you are interested in moving away with your child or you worry that the other parent wants to move away, it is important to hire a family attorney in San Jose. If the other parent has an attorney, you are unlikely to fairly represent yourself if your case goes to court.

With the help of our San Jose family law firm, you can prove that your arrangements meet the child’s needs and serve their best interests. Your attorney may help you secure the paperwork you need to prove that you have:

  • Proper living arrangements
  • Proposed custody and holiday schedule
  • Social support needed for the move

A lawyer can also anticipate the other side’s arguments and come up with counter-arguments to support your suggested plan. Explore your options now and call us at (408) 404-8656 to schedule a consultation.

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