Before relocating their child outside of the 25-mile rule, the parent with primary parenting time must acquire approval from the other parent or obtain a court order granting authorization to relocate the minor child. Generally, the relocating parent must submit a written request to the other parent, who must sign it. If the other parent agrees, they must sign the request and that request is filed with the Court. A notice of at least 60 days needs to be given to the other party prior to the intended relocation. If there is no agreement as to relocation, the relocating parent must file a Petition to Relocate the minor child and give notice to the other parent. Once and if litigation ensues, the relocating parent holds the burden to prove that the relocation satisfies the required prongs in the statute and that the relocation is in the best interest of the minor child.
All states have approved the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (or UCCJEA). The UCCJEA was enacted to prevent parents from relocating their children to another state solely to re-litigate custody issues in that state’s courts. For example, if the parents and child live in Washington, and Washington holds a custody hearing and awards both parents joint custody, the UCCJEA would prevent the relocating party from moving the child to another state, in this example, Illinois in order to have Illinois court hold a new custody hearing in the hopes of receiving sole custody from the Illinois judge.
The UCCJEA establishes which state has jurisdiction or the right to hear the child custody matter if the child lives in a different state than one of the parents. The UCCJEA requires the courts to identify where the child’s home state is. The child’s home state is the place where he or she has lived for at least six (6) months in the previous six (6) months, or the parent/custodian continues to live in this State. The other parent should not keep the child just to get the 6-month rule and justify that it’s the home state of the child, thus, violating the allowed parenting time by the court.
Once a Court has reached an initial custody decision – that is, the Court has decided who has custody, visiting schedules, child support, and so on – the Court generally retains the authority to hold a hearing to modify custody, visitation, and/or child support.
It’s important to remember that if a parent departs from his or her home state to a new state to avoid physical abuse by the parent who stays behind, the courts are allowed to take jurisdiction of the parties and the matter at hand. However, the fleeing parent must report the abuse and intend to flee to either the local police or the child protection agency.
A parent can ask a court in another state to deny jurisdiction based on the following factors: distance, financial capacity of the parent, history of domestic violence length of time a child has lived in that state
As a result, when parties from various states are involved in a custody dispute, jurisdiction must be established in line with the UCCJEA. Whether it is the initial determination or a subsequent revision, child custody battles are difficult to resolve. When parents live in different states, finding jurisdiction under the UCCJEA can be complex, thus a family law attorney with expertise in this field may be able to assist.
Call Kiswani Law today to discuss your relocation case at 708-210-9247.