CAN ONE STATE CHANGE ANOTHER STATE’S CUSTODY ORDER?
When a parent sharing some form of custody with another parent chooses to move out of state with the child, it can raise a number of issues. Unless both parents agree to this change together, both parents may have a frustrating season ahead of them. If the custody order does not give the moving parent the authority to make this decision, then the nonmoving parent may have grounds to challenge the decision and use the power of the court to compel the parent to stay.
However, in some cases, a court in the state where the moving parent wishes to go may have the authority to approve the move and possibly even alter an existing court order. While courts are not always eager to overrule the actions of their peers in other states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) does lay out terms under which one court may approve changes to a custody order handed down by a court in a different state.
Under the UCCJEA, a court may approve interstate relocation, possibly even against the wishes of a parent or other court, if
- The child faces safety issues and needs to relocate to avoid abuse or harm
- The child lives in the state for at least six months before the parent petitions to alter the custody order, making that state the child’s “home state”
- A parent or other party removed the child from his or her home state, and the child should return to the state
- The child has significant relationships or connections within the state
- No state qualifies under the previous terms
If you have concerns about your own interstate parenting issues, an experienced family law attorney who understands your needs and the complex laws that govern these matters can help. Proper legal counsel ensures that your rights remain protected as you work through your interstate custody dispute.
Source: FindLaw, “Interstate Custody Arrangements,” accessed Jan. 09, 2018