ACFLS
State Bar of California
AVVO
Santa Clara County Bar Association
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Kansas City Royals Player Jason Kendall in Custody Battle With Wife - Can Parents Going Through a Divorce Move With the Kids?

Although Jason Kendall, catcher for the Kansas City Royal's has stated that his recent divorce and custody case will not interfere with his game, his request to bring his two children with him to Kansas City during the baseball season has sparked great interest. Kendall's wife opposes the move and in addition to alleging physical and emotional abuse, she has now alleged that Kendall is overusing Adderall, a prescription used to control ADHD. While most commentators are concerned over the use of Adderall in Major League Baseball, the Kendall case brings up the family law issue of whether a parent may move with the children during or after a divorce.

Presumably, before Jason Kendall moved to Kansas City to play for the Royal's, he and his wife had some sort of joint custody arrangement. Given that his wife lives in Los Angeles, if Jason were to move the children to Kansas City, it would no doubt interfere with his wife's ability to see the children. In California, per the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders, once an action for dissolution or legal separation is filed, neither parent may remove the child or children from the state without the written permission of the other parent. Since Kendall's wife is opposing the move, it will be up to the court to make the decision. So how will the court decide?

The law regarding move away cases can be found in In re Marriage of LaMusga 32 Cal.4th 1072. According to LaMusga, If the parent who wants to move has sole or primary physical custody of the children (not 50/50), to oppose the move, the other parent must first show that the children would suffer detriment if they were to relocate with the other parent. If the other parent shows that the move would be detrimental to the children, the court must then determine what is in the children's best interests. Specifically, the court will consider:

  • Children's interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement
  • Distance of the move
  • Age of the children
  • Relationship between the parents, including the ability to communicate
  • Children's relationship with both parents
  • Wishes of the children, depending on their age
  • Reasons for the proposed move
  • Extent to which the parents are currently sharing custody

It remains to be seen whether Jason Kendall's wife's accusations will prevent him from moving the children to Kansas City. However, a parent's request to move with children during divorce or custody proceedings can be very complicated and involved. There can also be dire consequences if one parent were to move without the permission of the other parent or the court. If you are considering moving with your children, but are currently or have already gone through a divorce, you should consider consulting with an attorney to fully explain the law to you. Here at Mello & Pickering, LLP, we are well versed on the move away law and can help you raise a request to move, or oppose a move if it would not be in your child's best interests. Call us for a free 20 minute consultation or a one hour in person meeting at (408) 288–7800.

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