While the reasons might vary, it is quite common for people in our society to move frequently. A person might move across town in order to live in a better school district or move to another part of the country to pursue a better career opportunity. No matter the motive, if the moving party shares custody of a minor child with another parent, it can get complicated. Such cases are referred to as “move-aways” and it is crucial that all parties involved understand how a potential move-away can impact a shared parenting plan.
In an ideal world, you and the other parent will be able to come to an agreement allowing for your proposed move. However, if you share joint custody or if you have primary custody and the other party has regular parenting time, you will have to seek a court order allowing you to move with the child. If the court determines that the move is not in the child’s best interest, then you may not be allowed to relocate and take the child with you.
On the other hand, if your child is allowed to move away with the other parent, you should understand that there are still many ways to stay close and involved in your child’s life.
Technological advancements such as Skype and FaceTime make communication over long distances much easier and less costly. Now you can have a daily video chat with your child from right your smartphone. Texting also allows you to receive photos and videos of your child instantaneously, which helps you remain connected to the child’s daily life.
Traveling is also a big part of staying in touch with your child. Depending on how old your child is and where he or she is living, you may have to travel to your child or have your child travel to see you. Travel comes at an expense so it is important to address who will cover the travel costs and how it might affect other financial obligations, such as child support.
It may also be necessary to adjust your custody and visitation schedules so that you can still have meaningful, significant physical contact with your child. If you previously had regular weekly or monthly visitation with your child, you might modify your visitation schedule so that you have longer periods of parenting time in less frequent intervals. This way, you still have quality time with your child but he or she is not traveling as often.
When it comes to move-away situations in California, it can be crucial to have the support and guidance of an attorney who can help you protect both your parental rights and the well-being of your child.