When the parents have joint physical custody, modification of the co-parenting arrangements is not a change of custody requiring change of circumstances. Instead, the trial court has wide discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child. (In re Marriage of Birnbaum (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 1508, 260 Cal.Rptr. 210.) The joint custody moving parent does not have the presumptive right to change the child's residence, and bears no burden of proving the move is essential or imperative. (Burgess, supra, 13 Cal.4th at pp. 38-39, fn. 10, 51 Cal.Rptr.2d 444, 913 P.2d 473.) Nor does the opposing nonmoving parent bear the burden of showing substantial changed circumstances require a change in custody or that the move will be detrimental to the child.
The value in preserving an established custodial arrangement and maintaining stability in a child's life is obvious. But when the status quo is no longer viable and parents have joint custody, a court must review de novo the best interest of the child. It can fashion a new time share arrangement for the parents. This is what the trial court did.
Here, the court was faced with a somewhat unique set of facts. Foreman requested permission to change Taylor's residence to Colorado and she sought a modification of the existing custody order from joint to her sole custody. Niko opposed the modification, and sought an order maintaining the status quo. He did not seek sole custody. We cannot conceive of a plan, and Niko proposes none, that would maintain the status quo with Foreman living in Colorado and Niko living in California. To maintain the status quo, the court would have been required to prohibit Foreman from moving and the court has no such authority
. (In re Marriage of Fingert (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 1575,1581-1582, 271 Cal.Rptr. 389.)