If you're an Orange County parent who has children with an ex-spouse, learning that the other parent intends to move away with your child is alarming. But does your co-parent have the right to do this?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for all situations. These custodial "move-away" situations are complex and challenging for the courts to determine. But there are circumstances where it may be possible that the courts will grant your ex permission to move out of the jurisdiction with your child.
For instance, if the other parent has primary physical custody of the child, you will need to demonstrate that the proposed move would be harmful to your child in order to prevent it from occurring.
When you share physical custody of your children with their other parent and oppose the move, the onus is then on the other parent to convince the court that the move is in your children's best interests.
Even when the court grants permission, all is not lost, however. This is a good time to modify your parenting plan to reflect these changes and angle for more extended visitation with the kids since they will be living farther away from you.
You can also arrange virtual visitation periods online when distance precludes physical visits. Although these virtual visits are not the same as being able to tuck your child in bed each night, they do enable parents to help their kids out with homework in the evening, read them bedtime stories and connect throughout the weeks apart.
Some parents opt to take their kids out of the United States and relocate to another country. In these cases, it could become quite difficult to exercise your visitation with the kids, especially if your child's other parent intends to block your access to the children.
You and your Orange County family law attorney can oppose these custody changes. It's possible for the courts to order that a parent needs the other parent's permission to leave the country or even the state of California with the kids without both parents' agreement.
Remember, too, that it is far easier to prevent a parent from leaving the jurisdiction of the court than it will be to return the child to Orange County, especially if international borders are involved.