If you are offered a job in another state, you might wonder if you may move and how it will affect your custody arrangement?
In particularly trying job markets and with rising housing costs, a parent might be faced with the decision of either accepting employment in another state or turning it down to remain in the state where they currently reside. This brings forth the question of whether the parent has the right to move and accept employment in the state of their choosing?
Parents right to move
The short answer is yes!
Parents have a constitutional right to travel and that entails the right of a parent to move their residence to another state.
It is reasonable that parents may desire to move to another state to pursue employment opportunities, or for other reasons such as, advancing their education, or to be closer to family and friends. However, while the parent has the right to move, the issue becomes more complex when determining whether the parent can bring the child with them to the new state.
Parents right to move with their child
In California, there is a presumption that the primary custodial parent is entitled to change residence unless the move is detrimental to the child.
If the parents are in agreement regarding the move the process is much easier. The relocating parent must notify the non-relocating parent in writing of their intent to move out of the state with their child at least 45 days prior to the move. If the parents agree to the move and can work out a new co-parenting plan, they can then take the steps required to modify their prior agreement.
However, in some instances, the non-relocating parent may object to the child moving with the relocating parent. When this occurs, the relocating parent may request a “move-away” order to obtain permission from the court to move with the child against the objection of the non-relocating parent. If the court denies the move-away request, the child will remain with the non-relocating parent.
In either event, there needs to be an arrangement ensuring the non-relocating parent will be able to have continuing contact with their child.