C.T. & R.B.: Child Custody; Move-Away

In re Marriage of C.T. & R.B. (Child Custody; Move-Away)

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District

Published Opinion, (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 87

File Date:
Filed 3-19-2019

The family court changed primary physical custody of a 12-year-old from the child’s mother (with whom the child had lived in California since his birth in 2006) to the father in Arkansas (who visited the child monthly beginning in 2008). There was a final custody order from 2010 that awarded primary custody of the child to the mother. In 2011, the father moved from California to Arkansas. In 2017, each parent requested sole physical custody of the child. The family court ordered the child’s relocation to Arkansas to live with his father. In reversing, the appellate court held that the father did not meet his burden to establish that moving the child to Arkansas would not cause detriment to the child and that the change in physical custody was in the child’s best interests.

The father did not show any change in circumstances that “are of a kind to render it essential or expedient for the welfare of the child that there be a change.” The mother’s violations of a prior custody order did not constitute a change in circumstances. The family court should have considered less drastic remedies than a change of custody after finding that the mother was the parentless likely to share custody. The best interest factors under Marriage of LaMusga “heavily favors not changing [the child’s] physical custody from Mother to Father.”

C.T. & R.B. 3-19-19

The case listed here was not handled by Walzer Melcher unless the description states that Walzer Melcher appeared as counsel.