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Parental relocation and family law

California parents who want to travel out of state or, especially, move to another state or country will need to first look over their child custody and parenting time orders.

A parent contemplating a move or even travel to another jurisdiction, especially a foreign country, should speak to an attorney with experience handling family law matters.

When parents have child custody and child support orders in place, a California court generally must approve parental relocation. Whether the court will approve the move or not depends largely on the specifics of the situation and the orders.

If a parent has sole legal custody, he or she may be able to relocate without getting the approval of the other parent, unless of course the court order says something different. The other parent can only stop the move by showing the move would actually cause harm to the child.

On the other hand, when parents have joint legal custody, then the parent wanting to move will have to show the move is in the best interests of the children.

Doing so can be a tricky affair, particularly if a parent is planning to move a great distance away from the other parent or is intending to return to his or her home country.

On a related point, many if not most parents will be expected to have the other parent's permission before traveling to another state, especially if the travel is also going to involve crossing international borders or will mean that one parent will not get his or her parenting time. If a parent does not give this permission, the parent who wants to travel may have to get a court order allowing the trip.

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