Kevin Qualls Family Law
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How does relocation and travel out of state work in California?

California parents who are trying to raise a child in two separate households probably would hope their children would be able to live close to them. On a practical level, that makes child custody and visitation easier to manage. Emotionally, many also find that living close can make a huge difference in the quality of relationship a parent has with his or her children.

However, the reality is that people, including parents who are living apart, often move, sometimes out of necessity or in order to pursue important job opportunities that can benefit their children. When this happens, California law requires that the parent who is moving treat the other parent fairly so both parents can keep up their relationships with their children.

In reality, each "move away" situation is different and depends on the facts and circumstances, as well as the language of the parties' child custody order. As a result, the best recommendation for a California parent who wants to move away is to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. However, there are some general principles one can keep in mind.

When a child custody order is permanent and one parent has been awarded physical custody, that parent can generally move wherever he or she wants, subject to the terms of his or her court order. However, the other parent can stop the move if he or she can show the move would "harm" the children. When parents share physical custody, however, the parent who wants to move will have to show the move is what is in the child's best interest.

With respect to traveling out of state, a parent should consult his or her court order and, as necessary, his or her attorney. It is usually safest to assume a parent will need permission from either the court or the other parent in order to travel. This is particularly true when the travel is outside the United States or will mean a parent cannot keep his or her regular visitation.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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