When considering any child custody case, the court’s main obligation is to the overall well-being of the child. If one parent wants to move, it may impact the relationship between the child and the parent staying behind. The court may determine that the move is not right for the child and order primary custody switch to the parent remaining in residence. When considering a move-away custody case, the judge will consider the following factors: the reason for the move, the child’s age, what the child wants, distance, current custody arrangements, and the relationship between the child and both parents. The courts will also look at any negative histories such as any instances of domestic violence, drug or alcohol history, and other behaviors of the move-away parent to ensure the safety of the child. It is important to remember that every case is unique and based on the specifics of the family. For example, a child may be too young to understand moving away from one parent or the move may be too drastic in distance, which may give the judge hesitation about granting the move away custody order.

Understanding the Types of Moves

When preparing for a move-away custody request, the distance is a crucial component. If a parent is moving but staying in-state, they will have an easier time convincing the judge to grant the move away order. The judge will still need to look at factors such as travel and transportation of how the child will commute between parents, but this specific detail can usually be worked out easier when the move is just a few counties over as opposed to across state lines. When moving out of state, the judge must consider the distance in terms of financial impact, the safety of the child while traveling, and the emotional toll the trips may have on the child over time. If the move is an international move, the judge must consider the same aspects while adding in concerns such as cultural differences, language barriers, more significant financial travel costs, and whether or not the country is safe in terms of war or other threats. Some countries may not be approved for a move-away custody order if they would render international custody laws null or void.

What is a Bad Faith Move Away?

The court will always consider the reason behind the move as a means to reduce bad faith move-away custody requests. This is when one parent requests a move-away order with the main intention of distancing the child from the other parent in an attempt to damage the relationship. If a judge believes this is the intention behind the move, the request may be denied, or custody arrangements may be changed. In some cases, judges have made note of a bad faith move and communicate with the parent requesting the move away order that leaving the state may result in the other parent becoming a sole custodial parent.

The Child Should Remain Primary Focus

The court system is there to protect the child and consider their well-being as the main focus. When deciding whether or not to move away and change a child’s living arrangements in the process, parents should cooperate with the courts and consider the child, the other parent, and the impacts the move may have on the family dynamics. Parents should also consider seeking legal advice from their family law lawyer throughout the process to make sure they are meeting any required guidelines. Contact our law firm today at (310) 271-7675 for more information on how we can help.