Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My ex-husband and I were divorced in Maricopa County in 2004; we have both since moved back to Michigan and would like to move the case here. We have lived here for more than a year. We are unable to locate the forms we would need to file with Maricopa County to request a release of jurisdiction. Any assistance with form numbers or where to locate them would be greatly appreciated!

Answer: You don't need to file a motion in Maricopa County to "release" the case to Michigan. Once everyone in the family (i.e. both parents and the children) moved out of Arizona, Arizona automatically lost exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over child custody matters, which means that Michigan - as the new Home State - can automatically enter orders concerning custody and parenting time. The smartest course of action would be to ask a MI attorney to help you register the old AZ custody decree in MI under the Uniform Child Custody & Jurisdiction Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"). I don't know the MI equivalent of the specific registration statute, but Michigan's version of the UCCJEA in general is located at MCLA 722.1101 through 722.1406. It will be toward the end of that range! Then, if and when the time comes to change the current custody or visitation arrangement, whoever files (or answers) the new MI petition should include an introductory "jurisdictional" clause that explains to the MI judge: (1) what happened in AZ; (2) the fact that everyone relocated to MI; (3) the fact that MI became the children's home state six months after they moved there; and (4) the legal rule that AZ no longer possesses exclusive control over the case because everyone has abandoned that state. Finally, please bear in mind that I am giving this information based on *Arizona's* version of the UCCJEA. Michigan's version may be slightly different - even though both are based on the same basic principles of law. So you will definitely want to consult with a Michigan attorney about all of this.

QUESTIONS

  • My ex-husband and I were divorced in Maricopa County in 2004; we have both since moved back to Michigan and would like to move the case here. We have lived here for more than a year. We are unable to locate the forms we would need to file with Maricopa County to request a release of jurisdiction. Any assistance with form numbers or where to locate them would be greatly appreciated!

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    Referral number 520-623-4625
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