California Move Away Child Custody Requires a Trial de Novo When the Parties Have Joint Custody

In Niko v. Foreman, the court addressed whether a mother could relocate to Colorado with her twelve year old son when the father and mother shared joint physical custody and the father had the minor child fifty percent of the time.

Although the parties were never married, they had a son together and were in and out of their relationship with each other. The mother decided that she could no longer afford to live in California and requested that she be allowed to move to Colorado. The father challenged the request and argued that the minor child did not want to move away from California.

Based upon the fact that the parties were awarded joint custody, the parties were provided with a trial de novo on the issue of custody. The judge ruled that the mother could move away with the minor child based upon the fact that the it was in the best interest of the minor child and the minor child desired to move to Colorado. The father appealed the ruling and stated that the mother failed to establish that a change of circumstances existed which would justify a change in custody.

The Fourth District Appellate court stated that when either parent seeks to change custody from joint custody to sole custody, that parent must prove that a change of circumstances exists. However, when a parenting arrangement is changed, there is no need to prove a change of circumstances. In this case, the parties received a trial de novo to determine the best interest of the minor child, and the court found that a move away to Colorado was proper.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a move away or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, spousal support and/or property division, please consider our law office in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

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23151 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, California
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Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not guarantee that there are other facts which may play a significant part in a dissolution. Circumstances in a divorce case may alter the required action and analysis taken by a family law attorney in California.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship.
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