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Needing a second opinion of what I can do about my ex

leaving the state with my...
Needing a second opinion of what I can do about my ex leaving the state with my son.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I had stupidly given my ex sole custody of our son and consented that she can move to California back in December. I had found out some things I didnt know before I did that and filed a motion to modify custody and we have an upcoming court date. She since then has blocked all contact with me, will not let me talk to my son and she just left for California a week ago. I have hired an attorney since then. Per the judgement it says she has to provide me with their current address as it is known or even the city they are living in, problem is, she refuses any contact with me. My attorney said our hands are tied since she has not been served. Is there anything I can do besides throwing in the towel? She has basically kidnapped my child and left me with nothing. She is racking up violations on our parenting plan as well.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Judgement papers
Answered in 8 minutes by:
3/6/2018
LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
Experience: Experienced Family Law Attorney
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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I am very sorry to hear that; that must be unbearable.

So essentially if there is a move away restriction that requires notice and the parent fails to comply with that notice the parent may seek a court order that orders the return of the child to the other parent and that may serve as a basis to modify custody.

A parent must be "on notice" in order for the court to have jurisdiction to enter a modified order. So basically the parent must prove the other party was served.

If the other party cannot be located the parent can seek an order for service by publication (in a newspaper - for example, in CA please see:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/20213.htm

This requires the moving party to file a "due diligence" affidavit showing an attempt to contact the parent by contacting family members, hiring a private investigator, etc

Once the established due diligence is shown the court may order service by publication which gives the court the jurisdiction to make relevant orders at the hearing.

It may be necessary to get a continuance in order to accomplish the above.

Once there is an order and if the other party does not comply with it local law enforcement may be contacted to help enforce that order.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
basically we cannot do anything unless she is served? I am looking into hiring a private investigator. Do i hire one in California while I live In missouri or should i hire one in missouri?

Unfortunately yes that is correct but the publication method is a viable option as that will result in the court deeming the party served.

And generally it is best to hire one that is located in the state where the party is thought to be since they will be more likely to have contacts in that area that can assist with any needs as they come up rather than having to hire an on the ground person in that locale.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
even though she is in California, we could ask our attorney to do the publication route?

If there is no way to identify their whereabouts then that -or by posting the summons at the courthouse - whichever the judge OKs, would be the standard way to get the court to have jurisdiction over the issue so they can make a ruling on the underlying issues.

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The request for order for publication would be filed in state that has jurisdiction;

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=56561

then the publication (the notice in the paper) would be wherever one may reasonably estimate their location based on any information they had.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
How long do they have to live in California in order to become residents? How much time do I have until California has jurisdiction over the child?

CA requires 6 months residency;

The current court has continuing and exclusive jurisdiction but after 6 months the parent can file in the state where the child is located and ask that court to assume jurisdiction.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
She is wanting me to sign my rights over and allow her now husband to adopt my son (step parent adoption) I do not want to do that. My question would be, if I told her I would agree to it in order to get her back in town so we could serve her, would I get into trouble for that?

No, any verbal contracts re: custody of a child are not binding until a court orders it;

only the court has jurisdiction to determine the best interests of the child.

and the court can normally only compel a parent to terminate their parental rights if the parent is deemed unfit (ie abuse or neglect).

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