When married couples divorce and unmarried parents decide to break up, shared custody is usually the outcome. The California family courts will typically create or approve parenting plans that support the rights of both parents to time with the children.
Of course, living near your children is crucial if you have a parenting plan that requires frequent custody exchanges. The greater the distance between your home and the home of the other parent, the more difficult it can become to maintain frequent custody exchanges as the standard.
Can your ex move to the other side of the state or leave California altogether when you share custody of your children?
Relocation requests usually lead back to family court
Sometimes you will recognize that your ex has a very good reason for wanting to move to Wyoming with the children. After all, that is where their family is or where the headquarters for their employer operates.
In a situation where you recognize that your ex moving with the children will be the best-case scenario for the family, you can cooperate with them and negotiate a new parenting plan, possibly one where the children come back to spend the summers and every winter break from school with you. If you agree to the move, the modification request will proceed uncontested.
If you don’t believe they have a good reason for the move and can’t agree with the suggestion, then you may end up headed back to family court for a contested modification hearing. When you disagree about whether changes should occur and what the right changes would be, a judge may have to hear from both of you and then make a decision that they believe would be in the best interests of the children.
Typically, your ex will need to provide both you and the family courts with advanced notice before attempting to relocate with the children. If you contest their decision to move, you may be able to ask for the courts to award you more time with the children and to allow them to stay here in California with you.
Any evidence you have that your ex simply wants to interfere in your relationship with your children could help you when fighting back against a relocation requests that you worry would sever your bond with your children. Learning more about the rules that apply to California custody modification requests can help you prepare for the future challenges you may face as a parent with shared custody of your children.