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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Custody Visitation > Relocation And Child Custody

Relocation And Child Custody


After you have gone through a child custody case in California, a wide range of issues might come up that may lead you to want to relocate with your child. In some cases, plans for a relocation might involve moving to another residence in San Jose, moving to another city in the Bay Area, or moving outside the state of California altogether. Sometimes a parent will also use the term “relocation” to refer to travel outside California, or outside the country, with a minor child. If you are considering the possibility of relocation, it is critical to learn more about how California law handles relocations when a child custody order is in place. The following are some key issues to consider as you think about relocation.

How Far Away Are You Planning to Relocate? 

Some parents may use the term “relocation” or “moving” to refer to finding a new residence in San Jose, or in the Bay Area, where the parents can keep the same parenting plan and will not need to seek a modification of an existing child custody and visitation order. If your planned relocation will not result in the need for a change to your existing parenting arrangement, you may not need to get court approval and may be able to change your child’s residence without any further legal steps. A San Jose child custody lawyer can advise you further.

Do You Have Sole Physical Custody of Your Child? 

Depending upon your specific circumstances, if you want to relocate outside the Bay Area and you have sole physical custody of your child, you may be permitted to relocate without the court’s permission. In other words, you may not need to modify an existing child custody order if you do not share custody with the child’s other parent. However, if the other parent has visitation with the child at all and the move will materially impact that visitation, you will likely need a move away order.

Does the Other Parent Agree to the Relocation? 

When parents share joint custody of their child and one of the parents wants to relocate, it may be possible to do so if the other parent consents or is in agreement about the relocation. Yet even if the other parent agrees, you should seek advice from an attorney about moving away with your child and confirming that the other parent has given consent.

Are You Planning Long-Term Travel Out of State? 

If you are thinking about long-term travel out of state or in another country, such as spending a summer with your child in Europe, you will most likely need to get the other parent’s permission but you will not need to modify an existing child custody order. In some cases, however, your child custody and visitation order might specify that neither parent can leave the state or the country with the child, in which case it may be necessary to modify the order if you do want to take an extended trip in another state or country.

Has a Change in Circumstances Occurred? 

If the other parent will not consent to a relocation, you may be able to change your existing child custody order and relocate with your child if you can show that a change in circumstances has occurred and that the relocation is in your child’s best interests. To do so, you will need to fill out specific court forms, have those served on the other parent along with additional steps, and go to a mediation session or court hearing for the modification.

Contact a San Jose Child Custody Lawyer 

If you have questions about relocation, you should get in touch with a San Jose child custody attorney at Foster Hsu, LLP for assistance.




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