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Can a custodial parent in California move away with the child?

Whether it is weeks, months or years after a parent's divorce is finalized, a parent may find that they want to relocate with the child. Perhaps the parent got a new job or wants to be closer to family. However, as we will discuss, there are rules in place with regard to whether a custodial parent will be allowed to relocate with the child. Keep in mind that this is only a general overview of child relocation in California and cannot replace the advice of an attorney.

In general, in California the parent that has primary physical custody of the child has the right to relocate with the child to another city or state. However, there are limits to this right. If the child's other parent can prove that the relocation would be harmful to the child, then the parent with primary physical custody cannot relocate with the child.

Things are slightly different if the parents share joint physical custody of the child. In situations like this, if one parent objects to the relocation, the parent who wants to relocate with the child must prove that the relocation is in the child's best interest.

Should a dispute regarding relocation arise, it is important for parents to consult with their family law attorneys as soon as possible. It is important first and foremost that the child's needs are met. Children need love and stability from both parents, especially in the wake of a divorce. Moving away from home can be hard on a child, so it is important to keep the child's best interests in mind before taking any action. A family law attorney can assess their client's situation and provide legal advice.

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