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June 24, 2022

What Happens When One Parent Decides to Move out of State with Custody?

For a family in California, child custody in divorce can feel like a shackle in terms of being able to move and start over somewhere else. That’s because the court decides the status of ongoing custody, and any change to living conditions of the custodial parent has to be reviewed by the court first. At the same time, a parent who is non-custodial and wants to have visitation rights from out of state also has to get permission of the California court before such arrangements can be applied.

What Agreements Should be Made?

Courts in different states have struggled for years with conflicts between different jurisdictions. As a result, many go back to the Constitutional requirement that the court decisions of another state are given full consideration and recognition to provide uniformity across the U.S. That still doesn’t change the fact that an out-of-state parent will need to register an order with a California court for it to apply in this state. Otherwise, it won’t be automatically recognized according to a Pleasanton child custody attorney.

In terms of agreement, ideally the parent should work out a custody plan, and then present that with the court to show a mutual agreement with the registration. However, that’s not always possible, especially in a disputed case. Where a mutual agreement is not possible, the out-of-state parent must provide the appropriate filings in California court to have a leg to stand on for a modification or application. Some parents will go to the extent of registering their custody rights in both states (California and the other) to cover all possibilities. The Tierney Law Group can help with multiple situations.

What Modifications Can Be Made?

Generally, two changes can be made with a registration. Either a custodial right is recognized with a registration, or the order that already exists can be enforced in California with the same process. They require different forms to exercise and file with the court (Form FL-580 for custody orders, and Form FL-105 for enforcements).

The above said, the registration is not a slam dunk. The opposite parent can file a contesting response with a CA child custody attorney to the registration arguing lack of jurisdiction or that the out-of-state order no longer applies because it’s been changed or nullified by the other state’s court. Finally, a parent could also argue a technical angle of lack of proper notification as well.

Who Pays for Travel?

Generally, the parents are responsible for the child’s travel, but in the case of an out-of-state trip, the parent seeking the trip usually is the one that has to cover the cost of the transportation. The court is not going to pay for it from a government program or similar.

Common Issues with Parents in 2 States

Keeping up with visitation schedules and notice of locations, times and placement can be challenging, even for an out-of-state child custody attorney. Parents who want to maintain their child custody in divorce, particularly non-custodial parents, need to make sure that they have put on file all their necessary location and resident information so the court is aware of where the child will be located when visiting.

Another common problem is not double-checking the notification requirements between different court systems. Not every local court works exactly the same, so parents involved have to stay on top of what the two different state courts require for timing, deadlines, reporting and filings.

What Happens to a Parent in the Military?

Parents serving in the military can be even more complicated. When on duty, parents serving have obligated themselves to the federal government. As a result, there is no latitude if the parent is ordered to relocate to a different base or location for duty. In this regard, the parent moving has to stay on top of filing notification with the affected court systems to retain parental custody rights. There may be gaps or extended stays of visitation rights that have to be applied, depending on the nature of the duty requirement for the military. However, if the non-custodial parent doesn’t notice the courts on the matter, they could find they’ve been perceived as not concerned about exercising their rights and lose them. So, noticing matters considerably.

For the custodial parent who suddenly gets called up, arrangements have to be filed to temporarily place the child affected in others’ care. This typically involves family such as grandparents or aunts and uncles. The non-custodial parent has to be notified of all changes and has a right to file in court for changes given the circumstances. The court will weigh all these factors and consider the best approach for the child involved.

How an Attorney can Help Whether you need a military child custody attorney or guidance in general from a Pleasanton child custody lawyer, the Tierney Law Group can help. We’ve been navigating child custody for years with the California courts, including out-of-state arrangements. Call us to find out more.