Relocation Attorney Serving Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, CA
Relocation can be common when parents separate. A custodial parent may want to move hours away with their children, or even to another state. Visitation agreements and child custody matters often become complicated when one parent needs to relocate. The reasons a parent would seek to move away with their child are countless. What are their rights and the rights of the non-custodial parent in this situation? A Sonoma County, CA relocation attorney is available to provide skilled legal guidance. Consider reaching out to Wine Country Family Law, P.C. at 707.669.0841.
Relocation in California
There are situations in which one parent wants to relocate to a different city, county, state, or even country. Some of the reasons for moving include a new job, an employer relocating an employee, or simply for a fresh start. A parent may seek to relocate to another county or state for better educational opportunities and activities for their children. In some situations, a parent with primary custody may feel the non-custodial parent is a threat or unfit.
It is important to keep in mind that relocating involves much more than simply changing addresses. In Santa Rosa and throughout California, non-custodial parents must be given ample notification by the custodial parent in move away cases. The law requires non-custodial parents are notified of not only the intent to relocate, but the reasons as well. Non-custodial parents have the right to object to a relocation.
Custody – Best Interests of a Child
Even when a parent has primary custody, the court may make a determination in relocation matters based on the best interests of a child according to California legislature. When a non-custodial parent contests relocation, the court considers factors including:
- The physical, emotional, and medical needs of the child
- Whether the relocation is necessary or is senseless
- The relationship of the child with each parent
- The distance of the suggested move
- Whether the non-custodial parent’s accessibility to their child will be affected by the distance
- The child’s age (and preferences, depending on maturity)
- Whether parents can communicate well with one another
- Potential harm that may be inflicted on a child due to relocating
- The child’s connections with friends, local family, classmates, and community in general
- History of abuse by either parent
- Habitual illegal use of controlled substances
In all situations involving minor children including relocation, the court always focuses on the best interests of the child. Those in need of an experienced Santa Rosa relocation attorney may want to consider reaching out to Wine Country Family Law, P.C.
Is Relocation Possible Without a Move-Away Order?
There is no clear answer to this question, as it depends on the unique circumstances of a case. When both parents can agree on visitation and custody, an agreement can be submitted to the courts for consent. This is usually not an issue providing the agreement does not interfere with the best interests of the child.
If both parents cannot come to an agreement regarding a new custody and visitation arrangement, a request must be filed with the court. A move-away request must be filed with evidence supporting the relocation would not interfere with the rights of the co-parent regarding continuous and frequent contact with the child. It is important to note that without a court order, a parent who relocates with their child could potentially face criminal penalties. According to California Penal Code Section 278.5, those who maliciously deprive a lawful custodial parent of visitation or custody may face a maximum of one year in jail along with a fine of up to $1,000.
How an Experienced Relocation Attorney Can Help
Attorneys who specialize in family law have in-depth knowledge of and vast experience with child custody and relocation matters. The laws regarding child custody, visitation, move-away cases, and agreements between ex-spouses and other parents can be confusing and complicated for most parents. Legal matters involving a child or children between ex-spouses and other parents can be extremely difficult and stressful, to say the least. Our family law attorneys help parents navigate the laws and make the legal process as stress-free and simple as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are some common questions a Sonoma County, CA relocation attorney are often asked, such as:
Can I get primary custody of my child so I can relocate with him if I do not currently have primary physical custody?
A non-custodial parent must petition the court when seeking primary physical custody of a child. The court must be petitioned to modify child custody orders, which is a very complex process. It is necessary to demonstrate there has been a significant turnaround in circumstances since the time child custody orders were established. Parents cannot obtain a move-away order until they have obtained primary physical custody of their child or children.
Is it possible I could lose primary custody of my child if a request for a move-away order is denied?
It is very unlikely that a parent will lose primary physical custody of a child based on the fact they made a request for a move-away. In every situation, the court considers whether relocating may be detrimental or is in the best interests of the child. That said, a co-parent who does not have primary custody may ask the court for a change in primary physical custody based on your move-away request. In this case the non-custodial parent must demonstrate the relocation would be detrimental to the child in some way. If you relocate with the child without the court approving the move-away request, it is possible you could lose primary custody.
Contact Wine Country Family Law, P.C.
There are many reasons a parent may need to relocate, whether a custodial or non-custodial parent. Those in Santa Rosa and throughout Sonoma County in California can rely on a move-away attorney with our firm for legal guidance and support in family law matters. Consider scheduling a consultation with Wine Country Family Law, P.C. at 707.669.0841.