Relocation Cases Part 4:
Relocation cases are some of the most heavily contested and complicated child custody disputes that come into our California family law firm. In this blog series, I’m going to break down the most common client questions and how they line up with what the court needs to consider in a relocation case.
What does the court typically look at?
When the court looks to a relocation, one of the first things it has to consider is if the moving parent is making the move in “good faith.” This is not a difficult hurdle to overcome, and it dovetails into a later consideration of which parent is more likely to facilitate a strong relationship with the non-custodial parent, but it is something that needs to be addressed.
The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the moving parent is not simply trying to move to take the children away from the non-moving parent. No one ever comes into my office saying that is their desire when asking for a relocation, and no one would ever say that directly to the court. If they did, or if the court got that impression, the relocation would be denied without any further consideration.
However, there has to be some reason for the move. Simply asking for a change of scenery is not good enough, and could be construed as attempting to disrupt the relationship with the non-custodial parent.
A “good faith” reason for a move is something like a new job offer with potential for growth – not just a lateral move. Moving to have the emotional and financial support of family is often a rationale given for a relocation, and is often considered good faith by the court.
Having some legitimate reason, coupled with a reasonable plan to try to ensure a relationship with the non-moving parent, can ensure that the court considers any move a “good faith,” move.
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