One of the most difficult issues in a Child Custody case in California Family Court is when one of the parents is asking for permission to move out of the area with the children. This type of issue is know as a MOVE AWAY case.
A move away case will typically arise where one parent has to move out of the Sacramento area due to a job transfer or other necessary relocation. This move will cause a severe change in the normal parent schedule due to fact that the parents can now me many hundreds of miles apart. The non-moving parent will clearly not be able to have their normal weekly visits with their children. It should come as no surprise these kinds of cases are the most emotional that most family law courts have to deal with.
This is a very technical area of law that has seen significant changes and developments over the past ten years.
The California Family Code and recent Case Decisions have now greatly expanded the parent with the higher custody schedule's right to move with the child.
Under the current state of California Law, If a parent with primary physical custody wishes to move out of the area, other parent has a two part burden to show to the Court to stop the move or change Custody of the child.
First, the non-moving parent that the move out of the area would cause some harm to the child. Than, that parent must show that a change in custody to the non-moving parent is in the best interest of the child.
This is a very difficult standard for many parties to meet. A non-moving parent must show that proposed move of the child is going to be detrimental to the child.
The situation is different where the parents are sharing equal physical custody of the child. If one of the parent's wishes to move away and take the child with them, the other parent who is remaining only needs to show to the Court that it is in the child's best interest that custody be changed to the non-moving parent. The Court will only have to decide if it is in the best interest of the child for the parent who is not moving away to now have custody.
The only good news in this area is that modern technology has made it much easier for parents and children to stay in touch no matter how far apart they are.
It is now common for a Judge to order that the non-moving parent have several weekly internet chats using programs like Skype or Facetime. These amazing programs allow free video and voice chat between any two places on he planet.
In addition, the parent who moves away will usually have to understand that the Court will likely order that the Child spend the majority of Holiday and Vacation time with the other parent.