Is a mother required by AL law to send her 4.5 year old daughter all the way across the United States to visit her father because he decided to move there after their divorce? He has made only a couple of visits back to see the child in 4 years. He does pay child support but that is it.
Is there a court ordered custody arrangement? If so, does that order state what the parents should do in the event one relocates?
There is none. The divorce was filed in AL and they both lived there and then he moved to AZ. The judge ordered that both parties must take a child parenting class and only the mother took the class. The father didn't even do that.
If there is no custody order, then the parent exercising primary physical custody is not obligated under law to send the child anywhere. Such might not even be in the child's best interest if she doesn't know the other parent, if the child has effectively no relationship with the other parent because he has not been involved or around on a regular basis in over four years... it would be akin to sending the child to a stranger, arguably quite traumatic. A very serious problem arises, however, when one parent demands that a very young child be sent to him, despite the negative effect it could have on the child. Without a court order, there is nothing to stop an unreasonable parent from taking his child from a third party and removing the child out of state with him on a moments notice. I would suggest that you contact a family law lawyer immediately to discuss whether it would be a good time to initiate a custody action and get a plan in place to clarify what visitation he is to have (if any, preferably in state) and ensure that there are consequences for any attempt on his part to abduct the child.
Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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