What to do if my ex-wife has moved my 2 kids out of state to live with a relative?

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What to do if my ex-wife has moved my 2 kids out of state to live with a relative?

She did not tell me she was going to send them off to live with someone other than her. I pay child support and the back child support from be out of work when I got back from serving in Iraq. Can she move my children without notifying me? Also, if she cannot support them or does not want to can I get custody?

Asked on November 1, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have mulitple questions, but the controlling factor to most of them will be how your custody orders are worded.

First Question-- can she move the kids in with a relative? A:   If the custody papers grant her the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child, then she can have them reside with a relative.

Second Question-- Can she move without notifying you? A:  Many custody orders require a parent to keep the other parent updated on changes in residence of the children, but do not require them to give advance notice to the other parent.  So again, it depends on how your orders are worded.  If your order does not specify what type of notice, if any, is required, then she can move them withouth notifying you.

Third Question-- can you get custody?  A:  Most state family codes have a strong preference for children to be raised by a biological parent.   If she is not interested in raising them, and you don't have any issues that would impede your abilities as a parent (like drug/alcohol addiction), then yes, you could and should file a motion to modify the orders to grant you custody.  You can combine your motion with an alternative request to alter your child support obligation since she no longer needs the funds for the support of the children. 

Even though the kids have moved, your starting point for modification is in the same court that granted the original orders. 


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