This is the next post in our series on the handling of parental abduction cases in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed obtaining an Order for the return of the child and potentially changing child custody. It is important to understand that whether or not the Court will entertain a change of custody request is going to depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It is suggested that you contact a child custody lawyer immediately so that you may gain a better understanding of your situation. In this article we will address how to proceed if your child has been removed from the state of California on a permanent basis. Such matters are very serious and you should speak with counsel as soon as possible.
If you have a current custody order and the other parent permanently moves the child out of state, without the Court’s permission, then they may be guilty of child kidnapping. If this situation has occurred then it is important to contact law enforcement. If the police are not willing to get involved and retrieve the child (which they may not do, depending on your circumstances) then counsel can assist you. Your attorney can follow the procedures we discussed in our previous post in order to help you obtain a “Pick Up Order.” This order can be sent to law enforcement for the other state and it can command them to assist in retrieving the child from your ex. Once the child has been returned then, in a situation such as the one just described, the Court may be willing to require that the offending parent’s visitation be supervised from that point forward.
It is not uncommon for a parent to take the child to another state and to attempt to file a family law case in that state. The goal of such a strategy is to have the matter heard by a Judge outside the state of California. However, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act it will be necessary to determine which of the two states has jurisdiction over the child. Generally speaking, the last state in which the child lived for six consecutive months will be the one to hear the case. In order to determine which state should hear the case, the Judges of the respective Courts will have a telephonic meeting known as a “UCCJEA conference.” At the end of this call the Courts will typically reach an agreement as to which state should hear the case. More often than not it will be the home state. It is important, however, to file a request for the child’s return as soon as possible so that the second state does not gain jurisdiction over the case.
If your child has been taken outside of California without your permission then it is important to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. You should then speak with a parental abduction attorney. Our Orange County child custody lawyers have extensive experience in handling such matters. We understand the gravity of such a situation and we will give it the attention it deserves. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Our Laguna Hills office also serves Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.