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Navigating Parental Relocation Issues

Parental relocation, commonly known as a “move-away,” is among the most bitterly contested issues in family law. On either side of the issue, you will need an experienced attorney to advocate and convince the court that your position regarding the move is in the child’s best interest.

The Law Offices of Thomas M. Polinger has successfully represented parents with primary custody, as well as noncustodial parents, in move-away litigation. But it is critical to know your rights and establish your strategy as early as possible. Contact us today for proven legal advocacy in the South Bay area and throughout Los Angeles County.

California Guidelines For Moving With A Child

Parental relocation can arise during or after divorce. It is handled as a modification of the original child custody order or as part of the dissolution (divorce) proceeding itself. The current California law regarding move away cases is complex. There are legal and factual presumptions that the court must apply. First the court determines the reason for the requested move away and then considers other factors related to the proposed move and the interests of the children and their relationship with both parents.

These are the most difficult type of custody cases since there is usually no “middle ground”. Move away cases are high stake, difficult cases which are almost always fully litigated since the decision of the court will affect the children and the parents for the rest of their lives. Both the move away and the remaining parent have specific strategies and arguments that only a seasoned family law attorney can assert.

The court considers numerous factors, chiefly:

  • The reason for the move – It cannot be to spite the ex-spouse or defeat their parental rights. How compelling is the reason for the move?
  • The effect on the noncustodial parent – Will the noncustodial parent and child still have regular, meaningful contact? How will the move impact the relationship between the non-move away parent and the child?
  • The best interests of the child – Are the schools better or worse in the new locale? How will the move affect the child’s social, educational and emotional health?

Many parents assume that a move-away case only applies when a parent moves a significant distance. This is an incorrect assumption. For example, the move-away analysis may be applied by the court when both parents still reside in Los Angeles County. If one parent resides in Valencia and another parent resides in Long Beach, the length of the commute is such that the court would most likely consider this as a move away case.

If relocation is granted, the court will typically modify visitation to give the non-custodial parent additional time in the summer or holidays. The court may also reduce child support to make up for increased travel expenses.

Prepared To Protect Your Rights

Even with his 35 years of experience in California family law, Thomas Polinger cannot predict how a judge will rule in these difficult cases. He works hard for an amicable solution, but always prepares for a fight. Call our Hermosa Beach office at 310-697-8868 or contact us online.