This year the Atighechi Law Group conducted two move away hearings and has won both.

Because of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement there are strict requirements when it comes to Jurisdiction and children.   There are certain factors that need to be met with move away hearings.  The hearings themselves are always tough on one party as they are either currently distant from their children or  are about to be distant from their children.

Family Code Section 3024 provide that a parent shall have adequate notice of a parent seeking a relocation order. Therefore all the procedural ground work for a relocation order must be satifisfied for the hearing to take place.

A. LAMUSGA FACTORS

Certain case law governs move away hearings such as LaMusga and Jacob v. C.H.  The factors in LaMusga are the most important as they govern what must be met in order for a party to relocate or move away.  In evaluating the best interest of the child in a “move away” stiuation, LaMusga directs the court to consider the following factors:

1) the interest of the minor child in the continuity and permanency in the custodial arrangement and the harm that may result from disruption of established patters of care and emotional harm; 2) the child’s relationship with the parents; 3) the distance of the move and the impact on the child’s relationship with the parents and other key figures; 4) the child’s age; 5) the parent’ ability to put the child’s interest above their own; 6) where appropriate, the preference of the child; and finally; 7) the reasons for the move and whether relocation is made in bad faith to deprive the other parent of continuing contact with the children.

B. Home State Jurisdiction/UCCJEA

It is important to know that a move away is not the same as court jurisdiction over the matter.  Even if a party is able to move, the jurisdiction would remain in California IF that is where the petition for dissolution or petition for paternity originated.    For example, if a parent was granted the right to move to Texas with the children then even after a year or a few years of the move the jurisdiction would remain in California.  Because jurisdiction is based upon where the child has lived for the first six month preceding the filing of the petition and not where the child currently lives.  This is because the courts do not want parents to be “forum shopping.” In other words, they do not want the parent to be moving around to find the best state, law wise, that would be most in their favor.  The area of move away orders is very complicated as UCCJEA factors come into play.  This is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdictional Enforcement Act.  The country has provided home state jurisdictional factors to determine a child’s home state.

Move Aways are complicated matters and you must hire an attorney to properly litigate a move away- whether you are the party seeking the move or seeking to enjoin the move away.