Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Child Custody and Divorce Lawyer in Los Angeles

The other parent wants to move out of state. What can I do?

In recent years several Court decisions have set forth the following rules regarding move-aways. If there
has been no court order, the Court looks to the best interests of the children.

If there has been a Final Court order and one parent wants to modify that order by moving out of state
the legal standard depends on whether the original Court order provides for joint custody. The Courts
have not specifically defined what percentage of time-sharing qualifies as joint custody. One Court
decided that a plan which gave a father alternate weekend visitation and an overnight every week
amounting to 30% custody was not joint custody but “liberal visitation.” Another Court emphasized that
the quality of each parents involvement with the children was more important than mechanical time-

If the parents have joint custody, the court looks afresh at the situation and decides what is in the best
interests of the child. However, if one parent has primary physical custody (generally more than 60%) it
is much harder for the non-custodial parent to prevent the move away. They must prove that the move
is being made in bad faith or would be detrimental to the welfare of the child. Only then will the Court
review the best interests of the child.

However, the law in this area is far from settled and if you are negotiating a parenting plan you should
ask your attorney for advice about what will happen if one parent decides to move away.

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell to discuss your
custody issues.
Please call to make an appointment now 310.247.9913.


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