Understanding Joint Custody Relocation Laws in California

joint custody relocationIn joint custody relocation cases, your child’s needs are central to the issues involved. Divorces or separations naturally result in changes to the family. These changes are made even more complicated when one parent decides to move out of state. Sometimes, when these types of situations arise, a judge will alter custody to better serve the needs of the child. If determined that a move could negatively affect a child’s physical or emotional needs, a judge may transfer custody to better suit those needs.

If you have questions about joint custody relocation, contact an experienced family law attorney to help you through the process. Call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

When parents decide to divorce or separate, they will need to determine where their children will live, as well as how visitation will work. If both parent’s cannot agree on custody, a judge will step in and determine custody based on the best interests of the children. There are two types of custody that the court needs to address:

  • Physical custody: where the child actually lives
  • Legal custody: which parent has the legal right to make decisions on the child’s behalf

Parents may share both physical and legal custody, or one parent could obtain physical custody while both parents share legal custody. While both parents may share joint physical custody, one parent may be determined as a custodial parent. If deemed a custodial parent, that parent could have an advantage in the relocation process.

A Custodial Parent’s Right to Relocate

The determined custodial parent has the legal right to relocate with a child as long as that relocation doesn’t negatively affect the child’s needs. In the State of California, the custodial parent must submit a written notice for relocation with a child for more than 30 days. In order to allow both parents to arrange a new custody plan, the notice for relocation should be submitted no more than 45 days before the proposed move. The parent not moving has a right to file an objection to the move and ask for a modify custody plan.

Joint custody in relocation cases can be tricky, however a family law attorney can help defend your right to custody.

What Will the Judge Consider in a Relocation Hearing?

A parent’s decision to relocate does not automatically mean a change in custody. A change in custody will only result if the move will negatively impact a child’s best interests. Should one parent object to the relocation, a judge will arrange a hearing to decide if a change in custody is needed. Specifically, a judge will examine the following factors in a joint custody relocation hearing:

  • Your child’s need for stability
  • The total distance of the proposed relocation
  • Any harm caused by a change in custody
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • Both parent’s ability to communicate with each other
  • Should the move negatively affect the child’s relationship to the non-moving parent
  • The reason for the proposed move
  • How the move will affect the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
  • If they child has any extended family in the present community or in the new location
  • Other factors the court determines relevant to the best interests of the child

For Questions About Joint Custody Relocation

Because joint custody relocation cases are often difficult, it is vital to seek advice from a family law attorney. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you can ensure that you protect your child’s needs during the relocation process. To speak to a joint custody relocation lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 today.