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Halle Berry Has Requested to Move to France With Her Minor Child - Move Away Cases in California

Actress Halle Berry has requested permission from the court to allow her child Nahla, with former boyfriend Gabriel Aubry, to move with her to France. Given that Nahla’s father lives in Los Angeles, the move would obviously greatly affect Gabriel’s ability to spend time with Nahla. How does the court make such a decision?

First, the most important thing to keep in mind is that a parent always has a right to move. BUT, the question is whether the child will be allowed to move with the parent. Once a case has been filed with the court, either a divorce action or a custody action, a parent cannot remove a minor child from the State of California without the written agreement of the other parent or a court order. Where the other parent refuses to give his/her permission for the child to move, the court must determine whether it would be in the child’s best interests to move with the moving parent, and thereby significantly decrease the other parent’s time with the child, or to stay with the non-moving parent and decrease the amount of time with the moving parent.

Where one parent has sole physical custody of the child and the other parent rarely or never sees the child, the issue is not so difficult. In most cases the court would find that it would be in the child’s best interests to move with the parent with sole physical custody as he/she has been the child’s primary parent, even though this might make it more difficult to spend time with the other parent. The alternative would be to change custody, and have the child stay with the parent he or she has had little contact with and merely visit the parent who has been his/her primary parent. Depending on the distance of the move, such a change in custody would greatly disrupt the stability and continuity in the child’s life. For that reason, the courts are reluctant to remove a child from the care of the parent who has been the main caregiver.

However, in the case of two parents who spend relatively equal time with their minor child, the question for the court is a lot more difficult and the answer not as clear.

If you are considering a move and would like your child/children to move with you, contact us at Mello & Pickering, LLP to set up a free consultation to discuss your options.

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