“My ex-wife has custody of our children, and she wants to move across the country with them. Can she do this?”
California courts are guided primarily by the California Supreme Court’s decision In Re Marriage of La Musga, which sets out the pertinent criteria for the court to consider in deciding a move-away case. The criteria are:
The court will listen to testimony that addresses each of these concerns and then determine what parenting arrangement, in consideration of all of the above factors, is in the child’s best interests. Frequently, in move-away matters, the court orders a child-custody evaluation. This procedure allows the court to receive expert testimony from a child psychologist (or other mental-health professional) addressing each of the ten factors above. This testimony, which is memorialized in a formal report, is usually based on psychological testing and interviews with the parties, the children involved, and relevant collateral witnesses (e.g., pediatricians, teachers, babysitters, or grandparents)
Pauline Rosen is a divorce attorney and the founder of the Law and Mediation Offices of Pauline Rosen, located in the South Bay (Los Angeles), providing compelling, competent advocacy with compassionate client-centered legal services, including family law, collaborative law, and mediation. She is the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Ethics, Counseling and Negotiation and in Criminal Procedure and is listed in Who’s Who (1999). View her website and Divorce Magazine profile.