I have a current joint legal/ physical custody order with my daughter's father in San Diego, CA. I plan on moving back to my home state of PA. My daughter's father is active duty navy and deploys for 6 months and also has underway periods of a week to month prior to these deployments. He will most likely not agree to her living with me full time in PA but I would like her to be with me during these time periods. She is 6 years old so that would mean her schools would change. I believe having her with me full time would be the best arrangement. What type of custody agreement would the courts find reasonable if my daughter stays in California with him? Would they find my daughter living with my family and I a better arrangement for her being that she has no family besides her father in CA?
Family Law Attorney
Move away cases are complicated, but here are some of the factors that the court will take into account when making a decision. Please keep in mind that the "best interest of the minor" is always the standard when making custody decisions. The fact that the father is in the military and is often deployed will definitely be an important factor in your case.
** the importance that the child maintain a stable and continuous environment, considering factors like how much time the child spends with each parent under the current arrangement, how long the current custody order has been in place, as well as the child’s ties to friends, school, and community activities and any special needs the child has
** the distance of the move
** the child’s age
**the child’s [current] relationship with both parents
** the relationship between the parents, including how well they communicate with each other, whether they’re able to put their child’s interests ahead of their own, and how likely the moving parent is to accommodate contact between the child and the other parent
** where the child wants to live, if they are of an age and maturity level to make an intelligent preference, as discussed above, and
** the reasons for the move (while the moving parent does not have to show that the move is necessary, if there is evidence that the purpose of the move is just to disrupt the relationship between the child and the other parent, the court may factor this reason into the decision).
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Estate Planning Attorney
Hello: I agree with Benjamin regarding the factors that will be considered when deciding a Move Away case. I just want to add a couple of things that came to mind when I saw your question...During mediation, the two of you will be asked to attempt to find a solution that will be in the best interest of your child and will allow you to agree on a solution. In the event that you cannot reach an agreement, it is possible that there may be an evidentiary hearing at which time, the two of you provide evidence as to why your solution is in the best interest of your child. As stated by Benjamin, Move Away cases are quite difficult and you should definitely make an appointment with an attorney before making your final decision.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
I agree with my colleagues. Answering your specific questions here is challenging, because the facts need to be applied to the law. These posts don't allow for an attorney to analyze complex fact patterns. Consulting with a child custody attorney will be crucial. These are complex cases. If the father hires an attorney, you will certainly want one on your side, too. Determining what a court finds reasonable is very difficult to know if we don't know all of the facts. Certain facts may not seem to be significant to an average person, but could be huge.
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