CBS 8 San Diego reports that child custody relocation cases have increased during our economic recession. In a story dated September 26, 2011, a survey from the AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) is cited and discussed. The survey cites that a significant increase in housing debt during the last three years is connected with an increase in custody move away cases. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer my office has witnessed similar events over the last three years.
This is easy to understand. For example, picture a couple coming to a point where one spouse files for a divorce. Assume that the Husband moves out of the family residence leaving the Wife and children behind. The Wife, with or without a job, finds herself unable to afford the mortgage. This is common. (The Ventura County Star reported on August 10, 2011, that foreclosures in California led the country in July 2011. That over 56,000 foreclosure filings occurred during the month.) The Wife, in our hypothetical, is the primary caretaker of the children. She cannot afford the home. Rental units are expensive in San Diego and she has family who will assist her in the mid-west. She files for a child custody order and permission to relocate with the children.
Child custody under California law is comprised of Physical Custody and Legal Custody. Simply put, these terms define where the child primarily lives and the rights of the parents as to information and decision making concerning the health, education and welfare of the child. The issue of "move away" or "relocation" is whether the physical custody parent may take the child with him or her when the custody parent relocates to another geographic area.