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Move-away and relocations attorneys helping parents throughout Los Angeles, CA

For reasons like work, family, or to continue their education, a divorced parent with children might need to move-away. When this occurs, the other parent might be concerned about seeing the kids less and want to prevent the children from being relocated. Berenji & Associates has helped parents on both sides of the spectrum. Whether you are seeking to move with your kids or want the children to stay put, we can help. Call us today for a free consultation so that we can discuss your case and review your available options.

Move-Away Cases and Physical Custody

The rights of each parent in move-away situations depend on the current custody arrangement.

Move-Away parent has sole physical custody:

A parent with sole physical custody has the presumptive right to change the children’s residence, limited by the court’s ability to prevent a relocation that would “prejudice the rights or welfare” of the children. (CA Family Code § 7501.) Moreover, the custodial parent does not have to show “necessity” to move, assuming the parent is moving in good faith. (See Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25.)

The non-custodial parent can challenge the relocation by obtaining a custody modification based on a showing of changed circumstances and detriment to the children. As discussed in Marriages of Burgess, the non-custodial parent must show a substantial change in circumstances rendering it “essential or expedient for the welfare of the children” that there be a custody change.

To show detriment, the non-custodial parent must show that the proposed move-away would be detrimental to the children. Examples of this could be:

  • Detriment to the child’s relationship with noncustodial parent, and/or
  • The child’s needs for continuity and stability in current custody arrangement.

Move-Away Parent has joint legal custody:

If the parents have joint legal custody, they enter the courtroom on a level playing field. In such a case, the court must approach the move-away case de novo. In other words, the court essentially decides from scratch what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

However, this standard only applies if joint physical custody is actually exercised by the parents. In the event that there is a joint physical custody order but the move-away parent exercises the actual majority of custody, then the Burgess standard discussed above is applied.

Custody Has Not Been Determined:

In the event that no final custody order has been rendered, then a move-away matter is decided strictly on the “best interest of the child” standard.

Court Has Broad Discretion When Determining Move-Away Cases

It is important to remember that the court is given broad discretion when determining these cases. You will want an attorney experienced in these matters who knows how to best present your case to the court. Berenji & Associates has over 20 years of combined experience handling move-away cases. Call us today for a free consultation.