Helping Families Navigate The Difficult Road Of Divorce

Moving out of state as a custodial parent

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2022 | Child Custody |

There are times in your life when you might encounter a situation that requires an out-of-state move. If you are a custodial parent in California, however, the decision to move will not be completely up to you as the court must grant permission after considering a variety of factors.

Protecting the child’s interests

When a parent petitions for permission to move out of state, the court will first consider how to protect the best interests of the child. In general, courts favor shared custody where both parents are actively involved in the raising of the child. An out-of-state move would make this impossible, so the courts will consider factors such as the reason for the parent’s move, the impact on the child’s well-being and the relationship between the child and each of their parents before making a decision.

The right reasons for a move

Before a court decides to grant permission for an out-of-state move with a child, the parent must present their reason for the necessity of the move. Reasons that are considered in good faith will be accepted by the court. These include:

  • The continuation of a parent’s education
  • Better job prospects
  • Better cost of living
  • Proximity to extended family that can help the parent with childcare

There are also some reasons that are considered to be in bad faith and which will result in denial of permission to move. These include attempting to keep the child away from the other parent or punishing the other parent to get revenge for the divorce.

If permission is granted, the custody and visitation order must be modified to include a plan for the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule with the child, which might include longer stays with that parent over summer vacation and other holidays. There must also be a discussion of who will be responsible for the costs incurred due to the distance.