When parents separate in California, both of them often want to remain in close contact with the child. However, employment opportunities, family emergencies and other circumstances could push a custodial parent to consider moving out of state. Moving can be complicated when a child is involved because courts may disapprove of a custodial parent’s move that deprives the other parent of time with the children. Relocation is a serious issue because, in many cases, the circumstances prompting the move may come with real benefits for the child.

For example, a parent could be seeking a much more lucrative job that provides substantial resources for the child or help with childcare from close family members. Some people address issues about moving within the divorce decree or child custody ruling. For example, some parents may include language requiring a certain amount of notice before moving. It is important for custodial parents to comply with any such language as failure to abide by court orders may be viewed negatively.

In some cases, co-parents may be able to come to a successful resolution through negotiations. They may arrange for the child to spend longer, uninterrupted blocks of time with the other parent during summers or school breaks or develop other options that allow for a positive movement forward. For co-parents with a more contentious relationship, the other parent may contest the custodial parent’s choice to move. In this case, it may be necessary to go through a full custody evaluation.

When a custodial parent is thinking about moving away for a job or family, they may turn to a family law attorney for advice and guidance. A lawyer may be able to help a parent understand the requirements of their child custody agreement and state law as well as work with the other parent to negotiate a fair agreement.