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LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7101
Experience:  Experienced Family Law Attorney
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I have a family law question. I have a 15yr old from a

Customer Question

I have a family law question. I have a 15yr old from a previous relationship, the only parenting plan ever filed was from 2012 in Denver,CO for 50/50 joint custody. However last fall my child's father moved to California, and due to mental health issues I was suffering from at the time she went with him, after spending 9 months there; it was clearly not working in her best interest; lack of support, poor grades, ect. She came to spend summer in Colorado & wants to stay, am I required to send her to california. I filed a motion requesting primary custody here in CO, as nothing was ever filed in California while she was there. please advise.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 3 months ago.

The current order will continue to be legally effective until it is modified;

The court that will have jurisdiction is the court that has issued prior child custody orders, unless the court waives that jurisdiction and allows another state to exercise it, but normally the home state continues to have "continuing and exclusive jurisdiction" under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act.

So for a court order, the parties cannot, between themselves, alter that, as it is the judge's role to determine "the best interests of the child".

If the parties do agree to a contrary arrangement, the court can take that into consideration and if they feel that it is in the child's best interest, they can modify the current order so that the informal arrangement is given effect.

For children in their teen years, normally the court will give due consideration to that child's preferences when it comes to custody issues, provided the reasoning is based on mature rationale. The court will likely look to the child's behavior (grades, etc) in CA and compare that to how the child is doing in CO. Those are all factors that will help the court determine the best interests of the child and to make an order that furthers this.

But until there is a new order, the existing order has the full force of the law.

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
since the current custody order is here in Colorado, I am not required to send her back to California as he is demanding since her staying there was only an informal agreement.
Expert:  LegalGems replied 3 months ago.

That is correct; only if there was a court order stating that the child needed to be returned; see, a court order is in effect until it is amended (modified) by the judge;

now the judge may look at the facts and determine CA is best, ***** ***** accordingly,and then the child would need to be returned to the other parent.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
until the Colorado court decides on my request to modify or gives California jurisdiction over the case; there is no legal basis requiring me to send her back to California
Expert:  LegalGems replied 3 months ago.

That is correct; unless the CA court decides it has jurisdiction but they will normally defer to the child's home state, under the continuing and exclusive jurisdiction of the UCCJEA.