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I live in CA and may be headed for separation and divorce,

I live in CA...

I live in CA and may be headed for separation and divorce, but I am also currently job hunting and if I get a job in another city, I'd like to take it. Do you have advice about maintaining joint custody of my daughter if my husband and I live in different cities before or during a separation.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, just talking about it for now

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so

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Answered in 8 minutes by:
3/12/2018
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 40,157
Experience: Retired
Verified

Hello,

There are two basic issues with respect to "moveaway" child custody in California:

1. Who can prove that they are the day-to-day caretaker of the child?

2. Is the child of sufficient age to intelligently express his or her choice of residence (14 years or older)?

Factor 1 generally prevails in custody cases, irrespective of the child's current living conditions, unless the day-to-day caretaker is proved to be abusive or engaged in criminal behavior that is a hazard to the child's safety and welfare.

Factor 2 is important, because the court is unlikely to award custody to a parent in circumstances where the child is old enough to find a means of returning to the residence of the other parent after a moveaway. The court can't find a child in contempt, and ordering law enforcement to repeatedly return the child to the custodial parent is unworkable.

Bot***** *****ne, if you can prove you're the day-to-day caretaker, then you can probably move with the child, and the other parent will be stuck with the situation. However, I would seek an order permitting relocation before doing so, because judges don't favor parents who take matters into their own hands, and negatively affect the "status quo" before a court can consider the matter and rule.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 40,157
Experience: Retired
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
She's only a toddler. If I move before we get legally separated, will that help my case? I take care of her more than my husband does, but we do share the parenting responsibilities. Should I be increasing the number of hours I spend with her (not in day care) right now, to help my case when/if we do get separated? Are there other things I can be doing now to prepare for a separation or custody dispute that may come in the future?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
She's only a toddler. If I move before we get legally separated, will that help my case? I take care of her more than my husband does, but we do share the parenting responsibilities. Should I be increasing the number of hours I spend with her (not in day care) right now, to help my case when/if we do get separated? Are there other things I can be doing now to prepare for a separation or custody dispute that may come in the future?

If I move before we get legally separated, will that help my case?

A: If you move while married, and your spouse is not engaged in provable child abuse, then by your moving away, you are arguably acting against the child's best interests, and that will weigh against you. The counter to this would be if your spouse takes no action to try to obtain orders to return the child to California -- that would work again.

I take care of her more than my husband does, but we do share the parenting responsibilities. Should I be increasing the number of hours I spend with her (not in day care) right now, to help my case when/if we do get separated?

A: Yes, that would help. But, the court will look at the last three months (at least), so you can't just change the child's schedule for a few weeks and expect that to influence the court.

Are there other things I can be doing now to prepare for a separation or custody dispute that may come in the future?

A: Make sure you have enough money set aside in a separate bank account to hire a lawyer (or, to make credit card payments on a payment to a lawyer). If you don't have a credit card in your separate name, then get one. Also, make sure you know all of the bank, investment, insurance and other accounts where your community property assets are located -- because, the first thing that your spouse is likely to try is to conceal assets or close accounts.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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