Thursday, March 31, 2011

Relocating with the Children

As an adult you may move wherever you like.  Can you take the children with you?  The answer to that depends upon several factors.  If a divorce or Petition to Establish Parental Relationship has been filed, the Summons contains automatic restraining orders which prevent you from removing the children from the state pending further court order (which is usually a temporary custody order or a Judgment).  If those documents state that you may not change the children's residence from a specific county, then you are not free to relocate with the children absent the Court's approval.

In order to obtain the Court's approval, you will need to file a motion with the Court asking to relocate.  The Court will take into account many factors before making that decision (your relationship with the children's other parent; the children's relationship with the other parent; the amount of contact between the children and both parents, just to name a few).  Frequently, the Court will seek an outside expert to assist them by gathering information from the parents and children and making an assessment of what is best for the children.  This process is called a child custody evaluation or in Fresno County, a Psychological Evaluation; which is usually followed by an Assessment with Family Court Services.  This is not an easy, cheap or quick process.  

Obviously, the most expedient way to achieve your goal of relocation is to simply ask the other parent if they will agree and then work out the details of how you will share custody of the children now that you are potentially hundreds of miles apart.  I do suggest you try and put aside your own feelings and think about your children, who are now going to be deprived of frequent contact with their other parent (or even you, when they are visiting the other parent) and are going to be forced to travel long distances.  Also don't assume the high earner will pay for all of the travel, or just because a person moves, they will be expected to foot the children's travel bill.  Frequently, those expenses are equally shared and exchanging children, cross-continent, several times a year (especially if an adult must accompany them) is very very expensive.

For more information regarding California Family Law contact Stone Law Group at (559) 226-1910.

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