What is the LaMusga case and why should I care?
Updated: Aug 21
A divorce case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court of California.
This may not be a famous case to you, but if you are in the middle of figuring out custody and visitation issues related to you or your spouse moving away, this is a case you must know about. It is important to know about the case law history that has set the precedent in California for how judges make decisions about these issues.
In Marriage of LaMusga, the court clarified factors that the trial court should take into consideration when determining the best interests of a child in move-away cases.
The factors resulting from this case include:
v The child’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement
v The distance of the move
v The age of the child
v The child’s relationship with both parents
v The wishes of the child if he or she is mature enough
v The reasons for the proposed move
v The extent to which the parents are sharing custody
v The relationship between the parents, including but not limited to:
- The parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate effectively
- The parents’ willingness to put the interested of the child above their
In Marriage of LaMusga, the mother, who was the custodial parent, wanted to move the children away from their home in California to Ohio. The Supreme Court recognized in this case that the noncustodial parent who wants to make a change to the primary custody bears the burden of providing proof regarding the proposed move away.
So, what that means is that the parent who does not have custody will be required to show proof about the impact of the custodial parent’s move. In this case, the noncustodial parent, the father, needed to prove the detriment the children would experience in order to prevent the move away and keep the children in California. In Marriage of La Musga, the Supreme Court affirmed the custody order of the lower court that denied the mother’s move because the father presented proof that relocating the children to Ohio, 2000 miles from California, would be detrimental to their welfare. The court made their decision on the effect the proposed move would have on the already rocky relationship between the children and their father and concluded that the proposed move would be detrimental to the children’s welfare because it would disrupt the progress the children were making in promoting the relationship with their father.
As you can see, there are numerous factors the court takes into consideration when determining child custody with move-away cases. An experienced family lawyer can go over your case and explain how the above factors can apply to the move-away in your case. These are difficult cases and you must be well-informed before making any decisions about a move-away case.
We are here to help you, so please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have about custody and move-away cases. (909) 377-8141
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