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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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my children are in nj on a court ordered visitation for five

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my children (ages 16, and 13) are in nj on a court ordered visitation for five weeks, they have been there for two weeks when my ex husband struck my oldest daughter and choked her, I called the police but nothing was done, I also called dyfs they went to the house and nothing was done ,the children want to come home, they are miserable what can I do? also when dyfs was there my oldest daughter told them she is a diabetic she was just recently diagnosed and now the father is stating he is going to take me to court. I have sole physical and legal custody of my children, can he do anything to me? she did not want me to tell them because we have the condition under control and with weight loss she hopes to get off the medicine in the near future she just didn't feel like they were a good support system due to the verbal abuse and domestic violence that was in the home in the past. 

Good afternoon Joann,

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

There is nothing that your ex can do to you. I'm not sure what he would take you to court for---other than to be hateful---but hateful won't get him anywhere in court.

You did nothing to cause the diabetes, and you are not the fault of them being miserable while visiting there. Neither are you responsible for him abusing your daughter.

Courts do not modify child custody simply because one parent asks for it. Courts generally want to keep the same schedule in place unless one parent can show that doing so is not in the best interests of the children---and based on your statement of the facts---that seems highly unlikely that your ex would be able to show that.

He is mad because you called the police and DYFS, but in terms of him doing anything to you in court because he is mad---there just isn't anything he can do that won't make him look foolish. I see no reason for you to be concerned with his threats.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

is there anything I can do for the safety of my children? they are scared and don't want to be there they want to come home. The police said it was a family issue and wont get involved and there was no marks on her so they couldn't do anything. My ex lives with his mother and she is the one running them to places if she allows it, he can not drive he is disabled and very verbally abusive and physically. He also sent my 16 year old out at 1030pm by herself in a taxi to get him food at mcdonalds and the mother was not even aware this happened until I brought it to her attention. lastly am I able to switch jurisdiction from nj to Georgia once we have been here six months? an attorney here told me yes then he would have to file down here for visitation, is that true? I know there is a uniform custody law but I don't understand it really.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

it says you replied to my answer but I don't see it anywhere

Hi Joann,

I am a GA attorney, just so you know.

Realistically, there is not enough time for you to apply to the court to do anything during this visit.

As DYFS didn't find reason to remove the children from your ex, then an emergency custody order is not likely to be approved. And a formal petition for Modification of Visitation would not be heard until weeks after the 5 week visit has ended.

For the time being, all the children can do is lay low and wait for the visitation to end.

A change of jurisdiction for child custody is very difficult to get unless both parents and all the children are no longer residing in the state that issued the original custody order. While the law is complicated, I will try to explain it to you, so you can understand the laws at work here.

It is not state law, but rather federal law---through the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)---which determines what state has the right to make a Child Custody award, or a Modification of a Custody award.

It is important to understand that Under the UCCJEA, A court in one state that initially issues a custody order has what is known as exclusive continuing jurisdiction, and continues to have the right to modify that order until one of two things happens:

1. The original court loses what is known as significant connection jurisdiction, or

2. Both parents and the child have moved from the state which issued the original custody order.

As for item 1, it is for the court in the original state to make the determination whether they have lost the significant connection jurisdiction. Any state may make the determination that the child and both parents have left a state.

So long as the original state has exclusive continuing jurisdiction, no other state may modify the custody order.

So, when just one parent and their child relocate to a new state, and the other parent remains in the state with significant connection jurisdiction, the new state the child lives in can only modify the custody order if the old state agrees that it has lost significant connection jurisdiction. This is done by a parent showing the court with continuing jurisdiction that the new state can best protect the parties---if there has been domestic violence or abuse against the child---or by showing that the child has resided in the new state so long that most of the evidence necessary to proving the best interests of the child are located in that new state, and therefore, to continue the jurisdiction in the old state would create an inconvenient forum for the parties.

Finally, if a parent takes their child to another state to escape domestic violence, or to protect the child from the physical abuse of the other parent, an inquiry must be made into whether the flight from the first state was justified, and if it was, the original court may decline jurisdiction and allow the new state to exercise jurisdiction.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert 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 when our communication is completed.

I wish you the best in 2013,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

how would I go about seeing if I can have jurisdiction switched? I was told to get certified copies of the orders and bring them to cobb county court house and fill out paperwork. My older daughter does not want to go back there ever again so what should I do. I am trying to abide by the law but also protect my daughter. The order says that the initial five weeks this summer and then we discuss other visitation but me and him don't speak at all I speak with his mother minimally because she is not trustworthy. I do not want to be held in contempt of court but it really doesn't specify a clear visitation schedule.

Good afternoon Joann,

Getting the certified copies of the present child support/custody orders and registering them in court in Cobb, only allows the court there to enforce the orders against a parent living in GA. It does not confer jurisdiction on GA to make new custody orders.

In order to get GA to be able to Modify Custody, you will have to petition the NJ court to relinquish jurisdiction to GA based on an inconvenient forum in NJ---because the children all now reside here, and all the evidence of their day to day lives is here in GA. Only when the NJ court agrees to relinquish jurisdiction, can the GA court accept jurisdiction. Only the NJ court has the ability to decide that it will no longer have exclusive jurisdiction to issue a custody order. GA courts cannot legally do that for NJ.

I wish you the best in 2013.

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.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,


LawTalk and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you once again for your positive rating of my service, Joann. It is always my pleasure to assist you.

Please consider asking for me in any future legal questions you may have. You may direct your question to me through the following link. And please also place my name in the first sentence of your new question so that other site Professionals here will not respond to you:

Thanks again.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

what are my chances for a change in jurisdiction?

Hi Joann,

If your ex hires an attorney to fight you, and you try to do this yourself, I don't see much chance.

Many judges want to hang on to jurisdiction---especially if at least one parent is still in the state. It is really going to come down to the discretion of the judge---because this is purely a discretionary issue---not a black and while legal issue.

You have the facts to make your argument---but then it is up to the judge, and honestly, it could go either way.

Have a great evening,