Golden Gate University Law Review


Residence restrictions are frequently imposed on the custodial, but not the noncustodial, parent. These restrictions come into play when the custodial parent wishes to move with the child, the noncustodial parent opposes the move, and a court is called upon to resolve the dispute. The court will do so based upon a determination of what it judges to be in the best interests of the child. The best interests inquiry ultimately resolves itself into a question of whether the custodial parent's reasons for making the move are sufficiently substantial to outweigh the noncustodial parent's interest in existing visitation privileges. A custodial parent who violates the residence restrictions may lose custody of the child, forfeit child support, or be subjected to contempt proceedings. This Article will demonstrate that residence restrictions are not consistent with concepts of custody and general rules on change of custody. And, it will show that residence restrictions are sex-based in their application, justification, and effect because they exist to protect only the interests of the noncustodial father. If most custodial parents were men, residence restrictions would cease to exist or would be analyzed differently; the focus would finally be on the real interests at stake for all involved.

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