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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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Child born out of wedlock, parents made joint custody

Customer Question

Child born out of wedlock, parents made joint custody agreement in SC. Parents married 3 months later. Father is in Army, and was stationed in HI after marriage. Family lived together in HI for 18 months. Mother and daughter left HI 3 months ago to return to SC. No divorce has been filed. Mother dropped child off with grandmother for three months, is staying with friends, visits with child a few hours per week max. Mother took job as a stripper, and is admittedly doing cocaine. Mother asked father to take child for 6 months. Father hired a nanny, gave a six month guarantee to nanny, and booked flights. Mother then started saying she wanted father to help her financially even while he has custody. (Father has been paying $800 per month for daycare since they arrived in SC.) Father had JAG to Crete power of attorney for nanny, and went ahead and flew nanny and child to HI without mother being aware that they were already on the way. Now mother is referring to Pre-marital custody agreement, and saying that father is in contempt of court because he did not give her 48 hour notice. My question: is the SC custody agreement that was signed prior to marriage the authority or is it nullified by the marriage?
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: SC is South Carolina and HI is Hawaii
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Mother called police when father called her to tell her child was in HI. Hawaii is child's home of 18 months, then back to SC for three months, but not living with mother. No divorce is filed
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I think that covers the basic details. According to Uniform Child Custody Laws, it seems the custody hearing should be in Hawaii. Biggest concern is whether the old custody and visitation agreement is in force or whether this is a fresh start since they were married for 2 years after.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.


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

The marriage did not nullify the previous court order. Custody orders and support orders issued by the court are fully enforceable even of the parents later marry, and unless one of the parents applies to the court to terminate the custody and support orders based on the couple having been married, then the court orders remain enforceable---even after the marriage.

And yes, as the child has been living in HI for the past 18 months, the HI court may ask the previous court to transfer jurisdiction to the HI court. The father would have to ask the HI court to do this though. It is not automatic.

You may reply to me again if you have additional questions, and I will be happy to continue to assist you.

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I wish you and yours well in 2017,