I live in California with my husband and 3 daughters. I share custody of my oldest with her dad who lives 2 hours away. We want to move to Alaska where Mt husband has a great job opportunity. Is that an option for us? Or am I stuck living here because of the custody?
1 Answer from Attorneys
You have what is known in Family Law as a "move away" case. Either parent can file a motion to change the custody and visitation schedule based on any "change in circumstances." A new spouse's job opportunity out of state is certainly a changed circumstance. So you have the right to file a motion to modify the existing custody and visitation orders so that you can take the child with you and move, with provisions for visitation on vacations, etc. The hard question is whether the motion would be granted. Move away cases have always been hotly contested and therefore have generated a great deal of case law on appeals, as well as lots of legislative tinkering with the relevant Family Code sections. All of which to say that the law in the area is extensive and complex. On top of that, each case is decided on its own specific facts and how those facts fit into the legal principals set forth in the appellate decisions and the Code. On top of that, the local court judge is given fairly wide discretion to order what he or she finds to be in the "best interests of the minor child." So without a full analysis of all the relevant facts and options, no attorney can tell you even what the odds are of the motion being granted, much less any certainty of the result. You will need to talk to a Family Law attorney in person, and even then the best they will be able to tell you - if they are honest with you - is, "most likely the court will . . . ."