Moveaway cases are the most difficult kind of custody and visitation case for the court to decide. They need to decide if it is in the best interst of the child to move from one place where one parent resides, to another place where both parents will not have access to the children regularly. Recently the appellate court held that the lower court’s failure to follow procedures governing family law matters deprived a parent of opportunity to be meaningfully heard.
In this matter a couple formally divorced and a custody order of joint legal and physical custody of the four minor children. About one year later, mother wanted to move accross the country and eventually was permitted to move. However, the court of appeal reversed the decision and held that a trial court erred in a move-away case by failing to follow the rules and procedures governing family law matters, and thereby deprived a parent of an opportunity to be meanginfully heard regarding custody modification.
Family law is a very procedurally loose court. Many attorney’s unfamiliar with the family law practice are shocked with how the court operates. However, such is required during cases involving children. Procedural guidelines can feel like a lifetime when it involves the safety of your children. However, the court should always follow the procedures to give each party notice and the opportunity to be heard. It is a tough tight rope for the court to walk.