Relocation Attorney Serving Napa County
Navigating life after divorce is difficult enough and adding a relocation into the mix can make it even more overwhelming. In situations where one parent wants to move their children to another place, away from the other parent, the law can be highly complicated. Between court orders and custody agreements, there is much that goes into relocating with children.
Thankfully, this process can be streamlined with the help of a knowledgeable relocation attorney. At Wine Country Family Law, P.C., we help families navigate relocation and custody arrangements, upholding the rights of our clients at every step of the way. Consider contacting an experienced attorney at (707) 669-0841 today to learn more about how we can help.
How Does Relocation Work in California?
Relocation is a common issue for divorced spouses and parents who share custody of their children. There are a variety of professional and personal reasons why one parent may wish to relocate to a new city, state, or country. Perhaps there are better educational opportunities available elsewhere for their children, or they were offered a higher paying job in a new city. In other circumstances, the non-custodial parent may be perceived as a threat or unsuitable to care for the children, leading the parent with primary custody to seek residency in a new location.
When custody arrangements are in place, however, relocation is not as straightforward as packing up and moving away. Rather, there are laws that establish how relocation works in Napa and the state of California. A parent’s ability to relocate with their children depends largely on the type of custody agreement that they have.
Sole Physical Custody
A parent with a permanent order of sole physical custody, also referred to as primary physical custody, has more privileges when it comes to relocation. According to the California Family Code Section 7501, the parent is generally free to relocate with their children as they please, unless the other non-custodial parent can prove that the move would harm the children.
If the order is not permanent, and rather it is a temporary order of sole physical custody, different laws apply. Speaking with an experienced relocation attorney at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. can help to avoid unexpected consequences and ensure that the relocation is fully compliant with California law.
Joint Physical Custody
In situations where both parents have joint custody, relocation may still be possible. If one parent does not want the children to move, the parent who is seeking relocation must demonstrate to the court that the move is in the best interests of the children.
Can I Relocate Without a Move-Away Order?
Relocation issues are some of the most complex in family law. These issues are not black and white, and the answer to whether relocation is possible without a move-away order depends on the unique circumstances of the case. California courts make decisions pertaining to relocation on a case-by-case basis. If both parents accept the relocation, paperwork can be submitted, and the process can be quite seamless.
If there are disputes regarding the relocation, however, a request must be filed with the court. The parent who wishes to move will be required to provide evidence regarding the benefits of the relocation and must demonstrate that the move will not interfere with the other parent’s rights to continuous and frequent contact with the children.
Relocating without a court order can have serious legal consequences. Section 278.5 of the California Penal Code makes it a crime to “maliciously deprive” a custodial parent of their rights to visitation or custody. Violating this law can result in jail time and fines of up to $1,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of skilled relocation attorneys have spent years navigating relocation agreements and move-away orders. Some of the most common questions that we encounter include:
Can I Modify My Custody Agreement to Allow Relocation?
It is easier to relocate when a parent has sole physical custody of the child or children. To modify a custody agreement, there are two options available to a parent. If your ex-spouse or other parent agrees to the new agreement, then they can sign a stipulation, which can then be submitted to the court.
This allows for a quick and easy modification of the custody arrangement. If, on the other hand, your ex-spouse does not agree to the proposed agreement, then you must file a petition with the court to modify the existing arrangement. If the judge agrees, then the new custody agreement is in action.
Is it Possible to Include a Relocation Clause in My Parenting Plan?
It is possible to create a parenting plan that accounts for relocation and changes in visitation. It is also possible to address travel out of the country within a parenting plan. Having a relocation clause included in your parenting plan does not permit you to bypass seeking permission from the courts, however. A relocation attorney can help you more clearly understand how these clauses can benefit your parenting plan and can assist you in drafting a parenting plan that accounts for these issues.
How Can Relocation Attorneys at Wine Country Family Law, P.C. Help?
Relocation is a highly complicated area of family law, and there are a variety of laws surrounding how a custodial parent must navigate moving with their children. Families in Napa, CA can rest easy knowing that knowledgeable and experienced relocation attorneys can help them through the process. Consider contacting Wine Country Family Law, P.C. to schedule a consultation today at (707) 669-0841.