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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 36413
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Minor child refused to return to Florida in January. The

Customer Question

Minor child refused to return to Florida in January. The child has resided in WA state since January and is now a resident of the state. Mom is potentially filing a pickup order tomorrow morning at the final hearing for the motion for contempt. Is this
even possible? Can she file a pickup order 8 months after the fact?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

If the child had visitation in WA but lived in WA pursuant to a legal custody order, the fact that the child refused to go back to FL at the end of visitation and managed to remain a total of 6 months in WA before his FL parent filed an action in court to reclaim custody, the fact that the child may have been legally a resident of WA in no way eliminates the ability of the other parent from FL to apply for an be granted a pick up order.

The refusal of the child to return to FL was also acquiesce to by the WA parent and the WA parent is deemed to have supported the decision---contrary to the custody order in place.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The child has managed to stay 8 months. I forgot the mention the child will be 18-years-old in December. The mother stated in court that she did not want the child back and was not filing a pickup order. Is there any possibility the judge will not grant the pickup order because it's not in the best interest of the child? He's in school here, has a job, etc.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there anything we can do to protect the child here in WA state?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

I see the child managed to stay 8 months. But it is not up to the child to decide where they live.

The mother changed her mind obviously. At 6 months, the father could have filed for custody in WA, but failed to do so and does not have the legal right of custody. The fact that the child is in school and has a job does not trump the mother's right to custody---and quite frankly, if I may be blunt about this matter, utter contempt for a court order is highly unlikely to result in the court siding with the offending party just because the actions comprising the contempt may work to the benefit of the child. The ends are not justified by the means.

What happened here is one or two steps removed from child stealing---perhaps the biggest difference being that in this case the child wanted to be stolen and perhaps initiated it. I don't see a court being all that sympathetic to the arguments of the father or child at this point. I am sorry, but the mother can and likely will receive the pick-up order in this contempt motion.

If the child returning to FL would place the child in imminent danger of physical harm, then you can ask the family law court in WA for an emergency order for temporary custody---while the allegations of physical danger will be set for a full custody hearing. Other than that, I see no way around this for the father.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,

Doug

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