Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: I have a son that is almost 2. His father and I have been together for 4 years. Because of work we moved to CA 10 months ago. There is domestic violence in the relationship. I need to get my son away from his father into a safer environment. I am planning to move back to AZ. Does anyone know if I am able to file for full custody in AZ. My son was born in Gilbert and lived in Chandler from birth until we moved. (1 year) I am trying to figure out the best way to get back to AZ and obtain full custody while not endangering my son or myself from his fathers anger. Any advice is appreciated.

Answer: Assuming there are no existing custody orders already in place for this child, and assuming your move to CA ten months ago was intended (at the time) to be permanent, then you will likely have to file your initial papers in CA. This is because CA became the home state of your child six months after last year's relocation. If the domestic violence was significant enough, and there are other compelling reasons for an AZ court to hear your case, you can try asking the CA judge to voluntarily give up the case to AZ. But you cannot make her do that. You will definitely want to consult with a licensed CA attorney in the county where you live and ask her for legal advice on your next step in that State. It should be an attorney who especially understands the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and not just any family law attorney who occasionally dabbles in divorce law. The only other way you can try a petition in Arizona is if the whole family moves back here, too. But as long as any one of you (Mother, Father, or child) continues to reside in CA, your coming back here (even with your son in tow) does not give jurisdiction back to AZ. At best, you can try to cite an emergency that justified AZ's immediate involvement. But that is a temporary fix and *cannot* be used as a way of keeping the case here. Even if an AZ judge agreed to intervene on an emergency basis (and he might not), he would have to give the case back to CA once he communicated with the CA judge and made arrangements for a safe transfer. One last point bears mention. Your desire to present the case here in AZ may fall under the category of "Be Careful What You Ask For Because You Might Get It." Even if you succeeded in moving the case here, it doesn't mean you would "win" custody. The final orders might be a disaster. Nor does the fact you have to litigate a case long distance in CA necessarily mean you would "lose" there. Your CA judge might be excellent, really sensitive to domestic violence, and even give you permission to relocate with your child to AZ ... even though it remains a CA case. So think very carefully about this.

QUESTIONS

  • I have a son that is almost 2. His father and I have been together for 4 years. Because of work we moved to CA 10 months ago. There is domestic violence in the relationship. I need to get my son away from his father into a safer environment. I am planning to move back to AZ. Does anyone know if I am able to file for full custody in AZ. My son was born in Gilbert and lived in Chandler from birth until we moved. (1 year) I am trying to figure out the best way to get back to AZ and obtain full custody while not endangering my son or myself from his fathers anger. Any advice is appreciated.

STORIES

  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS