What do I do if the other parent wants to move away with our child?
Child custody issues are some of the most challenging in family law. The decisions are addressed to the discretion of the trial court, which must ultimately base its decision on the child’s best interests, which is a subjective standard. Further, even when custody is defined–one parent, for example, being granted primary physical custody–disputes can arise over the exercise or parameters of that custody.
As a family law appellate attorney, I have been the consultant to litigation teams or have represented clients on appeal in a number of move-away cases. In Marriage of Abargil, I served as appellate counsel for a relocating mother, who the trial court allowed to return home to Israel with her child. The attorney for the father appealed the decision, arguing that this relocation would place the child in danger, alleging Israel was a “war zone” and that Israel would not enforce a foreign order. I successfully refuted both arguments and underscored that Israel is a trustworthy partner for enforcing California’s orders. The Court of Appeal allowed the mother to relocate with her child.
If you have received a favorable or unfavorable move-away decision in the trial court, you will be best represented by an appellate attorney experienced in move-away decisions. You are welcome to contact my law office to speak with me, or to make an appointment regarding you or your client’s matter.
What are the rules that determine a court’s jurisdiction in a family law case? How could that change on appeal?
Jurisdiction is the power to act.
Before the trial court may address any substantive issue, the court must have jurisdiction to act. In family law matters, there are two primary statutory schemes that guide jurisdiction: the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) for custody and visitation matters, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) for child and spousal support matters.
I have represented clients on appeal and have been a consultant for trial teams in several cases involving challenges to jurisdiction under both the UCCJEA and UIFSA involving sister states or sister countries.
If you have received a favorable or unfavorable judgment regarding UCCJEA or UIFSA jurisdiction in the trial court, you will be best represented by an appellate attorney experienced in decisions pertaining to jurisdiction. You are welcome to contact my law office to speak with me or to make an appointment regarding you or your client’s matter.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act sets out the specific grounds on which a court may exercise jurisdiction or decline jurisdiction. The UCCJEA aims to reduce jurisdictional disputes and competing decisions between states and countries. To resolve some jurisdictional disputes under the UCCJEA, judges in competing states or countries are permitted to communicate with each other to discuss which state should exercise jurisdiction.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act defines which of two states or a sister country can correctly exercise jurisdiction over the issue of support. UIFSA was enacted by the U.S. Congress and adopted by all of our states to combat the high number of unpaid child support orders within the United States.
My former spouse moved out of the country with our child, against the trial court’s decision. What legal remedies are available to me?
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Hague Convention”) is an international treaty which seeks the immediate return of children to the country of their habitual residence when they have been wrongfully removed from that country or wrongfully retained in another county. The primary challenge in Hague Convention cases is the definition of “habitual residence.” Hague Convention actions differ from UCCJEA actions in that they require an international relocation and are not addressing jurisdiction or custody, but are seeking only the immediate return of children.
I have represented clients in Hague Convention casses before the California Court of Appeal. You may listen to my argument on the issue of wrongful retention in Cárdenas v. Alcantar here. (California Court of Appeal case number 3d Civ. C-071984, argued on February 24, 2014).
If you have received a favorable or unfavorable judgment regarding a Hague Convention or international custody case in the trial court, you will be best represented by an appellate attorney experienced in Hague Convention and international custody actions. You are welcome to contact my law office to speak with me, or to make an appointment regarding you or your client’s matter.