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What happens if there is child relocation in California?

California couples who are not together in a relationship and share a child will often have issues with living arrangements and ensuring visitation rights are adhered to. As always, the best interests of the child take precedence. If the custodial parent decides that he or she wants to move away, this can be problematic for the noncustodial parent and a dispute can arise. From either perspective, it is important to understand how to deal with this complicated situation and what the parents can do about it.

In general, the parent who has primary physical custody of the child has the right to move away. To prevent this, the other parent would need to show that there would be harm done to the child if the move were to take place. When there is joint physical custody and there is a desire on the part of one parent to move and the other parent wants to prevent it, it is necessary that the parent who seeks to move show that it is in the child's best interests to follow through with the move.

Despite the parents' agreement as to primary custody or joint custody, the court will examine the parenting schedule when the move is planned instead of the schedule that was in the parenting agreement. When there are concerns about an attempted move, it is important to understand how to handle this situation and what can be done to make the move or prevent it. Some parents are agreeable to the move. If that is the case, it will make the process easier. However, it remains important to alter the visitation plan to adhere to the new circumstances. There are many alternatives available for this situation.

Parents will sometimes need to move away from their previous location and take the child with them. This could be for a job, due to the need for medical care, to be closer to that parent's relatives, or for other reasons. The noncustodial parent might want to stop this as he or she is concerned that there will not be an ongoing relationship with the child after the move. It is preferable to negotiate these issues to avoid rancor. If that is possible, a lawyer can help. If there is a dispute, it is also vital for both parents to have legal representation from an experienced child custody lawyer.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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