Co-parenting with a child custody arrangement is never easy. Even when both parents are on good terms with one another and agree on a child custody arrangement, co-parenting can be frustrating and stressful.
Co-parenting becomes even harder when one parent wants to move to a different location with your child (or children). If your ex wants to relocate with your child, you need to take the proper steps to prevent relocation.
How Relocation/Move-Away Requests Work
First, in California, the relocating parent should give no less than 45 days’ notice to you, the parent who is remaining in the jurisdiction, of the plan to move away with your child for a period for more than 30 days. The notice must be given before the contemplated move, by mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid to the last known address of the parent to be notified, and a copy to that parent’s attorney of record. Alternatively, in California, a relocating parent may file a Request for Orders (FL-300) form asking for the Court’s permission to move away with a child.
If you oppose the relocation request, you must file a Motion, which in California is called a Request for Orders (FL-300) with the court to prevent the child’s move, upon receipt of the notice described above, or you must file a Opposition to the relocating parent’s request on a Responsive Declaration to Request for Orders (FL-320) form. A family lawyer can help you fill out the appropriate form and file the Motion.
The best way to oppose a move-away is to show how the relocation is detrimental to the child.
In a move-away case, the court makes a decision based on the best interests of the child. Courts consider the following factors in move-away cases:
- The interest of the children’s stability (i.e. stability in the child’s bonds with each parent, stability in the environment, with family, etc.)
- The continuity of the parenting plan (i.e. maintaining as close to the current timeshare as possible for each parent)
- Distance of the move
- Age of the children
- Children’s relationship with each parent
- Parents’ relationship with each other
- Children’s wishes (if mature enough, usually ages 14 and up)
- Reason for proposed move
- Extent to which parents share custody
After you file the Motion, a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, or other mental health professional conducts an evaluation to determine whether relocating is in the child's best interests. The evaluation contains multiple steps, often including:
- Interviews of the child alone, the child with each parent, and the parents alone and together;
- A home visit to each of the child’s homes;
- Psychological testing;
- Interviews of important collaterals in the child’s life, including but not limited to teachers, doctors, coaches and other significant others to the parents; and
- Reviewing confidential and privileged data regarding the child (such as medical and educational records, etc.).
The court then uses the information uncovered in the evaluation to determine whether to grant or deny the relocation request.
At Kraft Miles, A Law Corporation, our lawyers have a wealth of experience helping parents file for and against relocation requests.
To learn more, contact us online or via phone at (818) 462-5076.