It might be necessary for a parent to move after a child custody order is filed. If so, they can usually move up to 50 miles away in California if they have shared physical and legal custody and the other parent agrees to the move. However, if the other parent does not agree with the move or it interferes with the current time-sharing agreement, the parent must file a “move away” or relocation case

What Is the Current Custody Arrangement for Your Children?

California courts encourage parents to work out a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule that allows children frequent time with each parent. Joint custody is preferred because both parents can actively participate in their children’s lives. Shared custody gives both parents the right to make decisions for their children’s welfare, health, and education. 

However, shared custody does not always mean 50/50 time-sharing. A child typically lives with one parent most of the time for continuity and stability. That parent is considered the custodial parent

In most joint custody cases, if a custodial parent moves more than 50 miles away, it requires the other parent’s consent. Moving that far away could negatively impact a parent’s visitation with the children. A non-custodial parent can move as far away as they choose without court approval or consent from the other parent.

It is important to note that the 50-mile limit does not apply in all cases. There is no set rule for moving a child to a new home. 

A move less than 50 miles away could disrupt a parenting plan or be detrimental to the children. Therefore, in some cases, a parent might need consent from the other parent or court approval to relocate even though the move is less than 50 miles away.

If you have sole custody of your child, the court presumed that it was in your child’s best interest to grant you sole custody. Therefore, the court would likely assume that it is in the child’s best interest to move with you if you relocate. However, that presumption could be overturned if your child’s other parent proves that the move would be detrimental.

Filing a Relocation Case To Gain Approval To Move if You Share Joint Custody in California 

California gives a parent the right to change the residence of a child subject to the power of the court to restrain removal. However, if your ex-partner refuses to consent to the move, you must file a petition to relocate with the court. 

A parent might need to move because they accepted a new job or are getting remarried. Sometimes, a parent might move to attend school or be closer to family members. 

The judge considers several factors when determining the child’s best interest regarding a move. Those factors include:

  • The reason for the relocation
  • The distance of the other parent from the child’s new home
  • The ages of the children 
  • The children’s interest in continuity of care and stability 
  • The children’s current time with each parent
  • The children’s desires regarding the move, if they are mature enough to express a preference 
  • The relationships of the children with each parent
  • The relationship between the parents
  • The children’s ties to their current community 
  • The education and health needs of the children

A judge can consider other relevant factors they deem proper when deciding a relocation case. However, none of the factors outweigh the others. 

A judge considers all factors when determining the best interest of a child. The final decision regarding the relocation is up to the judge. If the judge finds that relocating a child would be detrimental, they can deny the parent’s request to move.

Moving Outside of California With Your Children 

If you want to move out of the state or country, obtaining approval could be more challenging if you have joint custody and your child’s other parent does not consent. Moving that far away from the child’s other parent causes special issues.

For example, moving hundreds of miles away could make it financially impossible for a parent to visit frequently with their child. The parent might not have the funds to pay for travel expenses or the ability to miss work for frequent visits. 

If you move outside of the United States, there are cultural and safety conditions to worry about, in addition to visitation challenges. Additionally, when moving outside of California or the United States, jurisdictional issues could complicate child custody.

Whether you intend to move across town or thousands of miles away, it is best to seek legal advice from an experienced San Diego child custody attorney immediately. It could take time to obtain court approval for the move, which might complicate matters if you have already invested money in relocating. 

Contact Our Child Custody Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego child custody lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108