My wife moved our kids to California and enrolled them in school. Since we are still married, what are my rights to get my children back?
Where I practice in Pennsylvania, the state enacted its version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA).
The UCCJA covers various custody disputes that may transcend state and jurisdictional borders, including when a parent relocates to another state and custody rights between the parents must be determined.
The non-relocated parent may, upon proper filing, ask the Pennsylvania court to work with the state the child is in and to eventually enter an order that determines who will get legal and physical custody of the child.
In order for the court to consider this action, however, Pennsylvania must be the home state of the child within six months of filing and the non-relocated parent continues to live in the state. Therefore, timing may be of the essence in making sure the filing is done promptly.
If a custody order is entered by the Pennsylvania court granting the non-relocated parent physical custody rights and if the state where the child is located recognizes the Pennsylvania order, the non-relocated parent may also have enforcement measures, through the court, at his disposal to ensure he has access to his child.
Due to the interstate complexity of this proposed situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how the state’s laws can help with this serious situation.
Best of luck to you.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.