One Parent Moves, the Other Parent Stays, Who Pays Transportation?

March 27, 2024 | By Doppelt and Forney
One Parent Moves, the Other Parent Stays, Who Pays Transportation?

In San Diego, for cases with children from a divorce, legal separation or paternity case, a move away is the worst possible scenario as the child or children will not see each parent on a frequent and continuing basis. Given the economy in San Diego, as well as many San Diego residents being members of the military, move away requests in a legal separation, paternity or divorce case are not unusual.

On this website is a move away article with a move away brief template with law which is more comprehensive into the move away factors which San Diego Superior Court Judges consider when deciding whether to grant or deny a move away case.

One major issue, in a move away case whether paternity, divorce or legal separation, is where the children will live. Will the children stay in San Diego or move away? In addition, if the move away is granted or denied, who will pay for the transportation of the children to spend time with each parent? Furthermore, if the move away is granted or denied, how does this affect child support? A move away is a very complicated motion and the underlying law for the move away is not discussed in this article but is discussed, as above, in other articles on this website.

As above, a move across the United States [and overseas] can make the transportation of the children very expensive. For very young children, an adult may need to accompany which would mean two round trip tickets for the accompanying adult and one round trip ticket for the child. It may be that the parents “trade off” each time. For four visits per year, this is four round trip tickets for the child and eight round trip tickets for the accompanying adult.

As such, if the price of the round trip ticket was an average of $300, this would be $1,200 for the child and $2,400 for the adults making a total of $3,600 or an average of $300 per month. This would not take into account any other expenses of travel such as food, lodging or others. One strategy is to ask that travel expenses be considered in child support and ask for a deviation from the guideline.

As many know, there is an inverse relationship between the percentage of custody and visitation and the amount of child support under the California guideline. In a move away case, many times, the amount of time with the other parent is substantially decreased. The result is a much higher child support order. This, along with the travel expenses, can be financially devastating and have the real life impact of non visitation on a regular basis.

Aside from the monetary aspect of travel costs and child support, there will not be frequent and continuing contact with both parents and their child or children given the distance. In San Diego, many court orders for parenting plans include at least one visit per week to maintain the bond and have frequent and continuing contact. If the parents live hundreds or thousands of miles away, this is not possible.

One parent may lose their bond with their child. While the technological advances, such as Skype and 4g with face time, allow visual and audio contact, this cannot take the place of physical contact which is very important for bonding. The stability and bond of the parent can be placed into jeopardy and this is not in the best interests of the child.

Please feel free to contact our law office for any questions regarding travel expense or a move away case.