Previous posts have discussed what happens when a parent has to move with his or her child after a judge has entered a custody or parenting time order. Especially since moving is a fact of life for many people, it may still be helpful for parents in the San Francisco area to be aware of California’s requirements in these sorts of situations. Knowing the rules can help prevent or at least head off many post-divorce disputes and other time-consuming and stressful family law issues.

To review, there are two basic rules a parent has to follow when it comes to moving. First, in many cases, the court will order that if a parent wishes to move for more than 30 days with his or her child, then he or she must provide 45 days’ notice to the other parent so the parent can have the opportunity to negotiate or take legal action to prevent the move.

Judges do have some leeway to deviate from this standard practice, however, and this leeway is particularly helpful in cases involving domestic violence or similar issues.

The second rule that parents have to follow, or at least be aware of, is that the custodial parent in California has the right to decide where the child lives. This makes the court’s order regarding custody very important, since an award of sole custody means that, absent the court’s finding a move would actually harm the child, the custodial parent makes the final call about a move.

In situations where parents share custody, however, either both parents must agree to the move or a court must find the move is in the best interests of the child.

Relocation cases are often complicated and contentious. However, the guidance of an experienced family law attorney in the San Francisco area can be invaluable in navigating through such a case whether one is a parent trying to move or trying to prevent a move.