Through out the past years, factors in move away cases have been added and deleted from the court’s laundry list. Unless the move is prompted by absolute circumstances (ie: military move away), the court would like to ascertain the following:
1. Is there a detriment established by the distance of move (will the child’s relationship with non-moving parent be impaired as a result of the move)?
2. Where is the best support system or structure for the child (where are more family members based/located)? And
3. What is the child’s preference? (Does she want to live with Dad or Mom and where?) And i. Is the child mature enough to express her wishes?
ii. Whether amicable relationship exists between child and Mom and child and Dad?
In order to determine such matters, the court may enlist the services of a 730 evaluator (psychologist), or minor’s counsel.
– Unless there are child abuse/neglect issues, the court will not likely order a psychologist to evaluate the child. The court will however order the minor to be represented by counsel. Minor’s counsel shall be responsible for conveying the child’s preferences to the court. Counsel will do so by interviewing the child during one or two sessions. Either way, parents would have to bear the costs of counsel and 730 evaluator.