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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Can a father take his daughter from Ca to AR and file for custody

Resolved Question:

Can a father take his daughter from Ca to AR and file for custody in AR so he can keep his daughter
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

thank you for entrusting me with your question. Is there a custody order currently in effect?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No current divorce or custody filings yet, but she will probably file tomorrow while me and my daughter are on a plane to AR
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.

Here is how it works--California and Arkansas are UCCJEA states; this means, in short, that absent a court order to the contrary, a parent can relocate out of state with the child; the only limitation without a court order is that the non-custodial parent must be permitted to have "reasonable" contact with the child. What is "reasonable" depends on the circumstances, but it is more than zero.

However, because CA and AR are UCCJEA states, once the move is effectuated, the non-custodial parent can file for custody in the state of origin for up to six months. If mom and dad are both in CA and dad moves to AR, this means that mom can file for custody in CA for up to six months after the move which means that any court action will have to be fought out in the CA court.

"Dad" should also be aware that, under those circumstances, the CA court has the authority to order that the child be moved back to CA; this does not mean that the father is in legal trouble, nor does it mean that the court will necessarily make that order, but obviously he is not going to be happy about having to relocate the child back to CA. The court prefers the child to stay primarily with the primary caregiver, but the court also prefers the child to have regular contact with both parents; the court's order will be whatever is in the child's best interest, and that obviously varies from situation to situation.

If "mom" does not file for custody in CA for those 6 months, dad has nothing to be concerned about, but otherwise he could be in for a major inconvenience.

The last thing that I will point out is that dad has the option to file for custody in CA and simply ask that court's permission to move; that eliminates any surprise.

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
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