For California parents, divorce means a drastic shift from a unified household to a new partnership as co-parents. This transition can be a rocky road, especially when parents don't see eye-to-eye about the details of their new arrangement. One topic that often arises is when the custodial parent wishes to relocate to another state, leaving the other parent with limited access to his or her children. This is a child custody issue that often requires judicial intervention, as parents are not always able to come to an agreement on their own.
In a family court judge's eyes, the well-being of a child is always a more compelling factor than the wants and needs of a parent. Therefore, if a judge believes that the parent/child bond will be weakened or damaged by relocation, the move may be disallowed. This decision will not be affected by whatever negative impact will result for the parent. Parents in this position can lose access to their own family or support network, or be prevented from taking a better job if the other parent decides to protest the move in court.
Parents who are stuck in this scenario should make an effort to examine their motives for wanting to relocate. If the move does not directly benefit their children, it may be better to remain in place and work out a parenting agreement that everyone can agree to. However, if the move would mean a significant improvement in the lives of both parent and child, it may be best to pursue the matter in court.
California parents who are considering a move have a lot to consider. In the best outcomes, parents are able to work through the issue on their own and devise a child custody structure that suits the needs of both parents and their children. Taking the matter to court should be the last resort, as the outcome will be legally binding on all parties.
Source: Huffington Post, 6 Things to Expect and Consider When Relocating with Children After Divorce, Andrea Moore, Dec. 18, 2013