Couples in the Sacramento area may have to move to another state or another part of California for a number of reasons.
Often, they have a better job opportunity. In other cases, the move may be to get access to important resources or to give or receive support to extended family.
Sometimes, because of a history of abuse, one parent will want to put some distance between herself and the abusive parent.
If there is joint custody, parents must have permission to move
By default, California favors both parents having a relationship with their children.
Moreover, since a move over a distance can interfere with this relationship, courts consider it a significant decision.
Therefore, if parents have joint legal custody, or shared decision-making, then the parent who is not moving must agree to the move. Otherwise, the parent wanting the move will have to get the court’s permission.
If, on the other hand, only one parent has legal custody, then he is generally free to change the child’s residence. The other parent may still have other remedies, however. For example, she may file a request to change custody in order to prevent the move or change the parenting time schedule.
In any event, parents who want to move and who are subject to a custody order should review that order carefully, as it may contain additional rules and restrictions. They should also strongly consider speaking to an experienced family law attorney about their plans.
Domestic violence victims may have additional protections if they need to move
Those who are victims of domestic violence should remember that the law provides them with some additional protection if they need to make a move.
Specifically, if the parent who wants the move has credible evidence that the other parent committed domestic violence against her or the children in the previous 5 years, she should consider raising the matter with the court. A California court will have to start by presuming that the other parent should not have legal custody and, thus, should not have a say in whether the victim moves.