If I want to move out of state, what would be the steps I should take to ensure his father and I will not have any problems regarding custody?

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If I want to move out of state, what would be the steps I should take to ensure his father and I will not have any problems regarding custody?

The father moved from Seattle, WA to Pasco, WA about 400 miles away and has been gone for about 6 months now. He has only come here to visit one time and did not tell me he was doing so and was able to see my son because he was over his grandma’s house at the time. I am planning on moving out of the state next yeaarto. I have asked my on’s father if he wanted to work out a custody arrangement and he has said no. He doesn’t call, he isn’t paying any child support, and is not involved in his son’s life anymore. I have been the main financial supporter in my son’s life since he was born.

Asked on January 14, 2013 under Family Law, Washington

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there are no custody orders in place and he has not been involved with your child, then you shouldn't have any custody problems moving to a new state.  You only need to stay focused on providing a good living environment for your son and move when you are ready.

If you do have some type of custody orders in place, then you need to follow those orders.  A few orders will restrict where you can live.  If your orders contain this type of clause-- then you will need to modify the custody orders before you move to avoid any issues.  Some orders contain notice provisions that require you to give the court and the other parent written notice of your intent to move.  Again, if this is how your orders read, then follow the orders.  If your orders have no notice or residency restrictions-- then you are free to leave without any issues.

If you do not have any orders in place yet, but you do want orders to provide for mandatory child support, you may want to hold off filing until you move to your new state.  Once you meet the residency requirements for family law cases there, you can file the custody suit.  It will be easier to finish a custody suit when you don't have to travel back and forth to another state.

Under any of the three situations listed above-- if "dad" does decide to raise an issue, then you will still be okay because of his historical lack of involvement.  Some judges will grant residency restrictions when the dad has had a close bond with the child and they want to encourage the continuation of that bond.  That does not appear to be the situation in your case.  He cannot claim that it will impede his visitations, because he has never chosen to be involved prior--thus...he can't claim a potential injury now. 


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