During the holidays, people start traveling both abroad and across the nation like in no other time of year. In fact, if you have children, you’re more likely to travel to give your kids precious memories and experiences instead of toys.
Fact: a new study found that children are scientifically proven to prefer holidays to toys.
But for divorced and unmarried parents, relocating during the holidays may create a series of legal troubles, and it even poses a risk of losing your custody rights as a parent.
Our child custody attorneys here at the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi explain how to relocate during the holidays without giving the other parent reasons to sue you and take away your custody rights.
If you’re a custodial parent and are planning to relocate with your child during the holidays, plan in advance.
In any viable child custody plan, parents are required to agree on a parent visitation schedule as well as holiday vacation times. During the holidays, both custodial and non-custodial parents are more likely to take their kids on a holiday vacation.
If you’re the relocating parent, it’s advised to seek the legal advice of a Westlake Village child custody attorney to minimize the risk of losing your custody rights.
In many cases, the relocating parent must seek a court modification of child custody in order to determine whether or not the relocation will be in the child’s best interests.
California laws require custodial parents to give written notice of any plans to relocate or travel with the child for more than 30 days. The notice must be served to the other parent at least 45 days before the departure.
Note: it’s not uncommon for family courts in Westlake Village and elsewhere in California to reassess child custody between the two parents, and give the non-custodial parent sole physical custody of the child, if the court deems that the relocation would have a negative impact on the child’s emotional and physical state.
Therefore, if you’re planning to relocate to live in another city, state or even country permanently or for an extended period of time, consult a child custody lawyer to find out if you’re at risk of losing your physical custody rights.
Before relocating with the child, you and the other parent would have to agree on a parent visitation schedule and provide the other party with the days, times and places for visitation in the new location.
Relocating during the holidays poses additional struggles if you’ve already agreed on a parent visitation schedule for the holidays. Every custody agreement with a visitation schedule must be respected by the parties, and any breach of the contract may lead to legal action.
In most cases, relocating with the child means giving the non-custodial parent prolonged visitation times during major holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as summer months, to compensate for their lack of communication with the children.
Also, our child custody attorneys warn that you may be required to cover the other parent’s transportation costs related to visitation after relocating to the new location. It may be either a 50-50 split in travel costs or the relocating parent covering most of the costs.
Find out more about your rights as a custodial and non-custodial rights in Westlake Village by contacting our best child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi.