Will child custody prevent me from moving out of state?

Moving can be an enormous undertaking. From securing new housing to figuring out the best way to transport household goods, the entire process can be incredibly stressful. Add in child custody matters to the mix, and most people would probably rather stay put. However, moving is sometimes a necessary part of life, so parents should be certain that they understand how to handle their child custody issues during the process.

If a custodial parent plans to move outside of California, it is possible that the noncustodial parent will not object and the move can proceed as planned. However, if the noncustodial parent does not agree with the move, then the matter can quickly become complicated. In these situations, it is generally up to the custodial parent to demonstrate that the move is not only necessary or in good faith, but that it is also in the child’s best interests.

Providing good faith reasons for the move is often necessary. Examples of good faith reasons can include moving for better employment, although a custodial parent must have already secured a new job and cannot be in the process of seeking a new position. A custodial parent might also want to move to live near family who will help take on child-rearing responsibilities. Seeking a more affordable cost of living or pursuing an education can also be examples of good faith reasons.

The idea of having to prove a good reason for a move might feel uncomfortable to some people. Many parents in California feel as if it is up to them to make decisions regarding their family’s well-being and that the courts should not be involved. However, a significant move not only affects child custody arrangements but also a child’s relationship with his or her other parent, so ensuring that everything is done in good faith is often in the best interests of the child.

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