If I move to another state with my child, where do I file a custody and visitation petition?
Jurisdictional issues regarding relocation of children are addressed in NYS Domestic Relations Law § 76, and there is a body of case law that further explains the statute. Here is the short answer:
If this is the first time you have gone to court for a custody or visitation matter, you file a petition in the state your child has lived in for six months or longer.
If you have already been to court in New York State, even if your child has been living in a different state for six months or longer, you must first petition New York State to relinquish jurisdiction before the other state can hear the new petition. New York has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over child custody and visitation issues until a New York court determines that it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction.
Question: Why would a New York court make the determination that New York State no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction, over custody and visitation issues relating to a child?
Answer: Because the court might find that the child has no longer has a significant connection to New York (DRL 76-a), or because the court might find that New York is an inconvenient forum to litigate the matter (DRL 76-f).
Jurisdiction in a custody and visitation matter is a complicated topic that reasonable attorneys may argue over. When you have an unreasonable attorney on the other side, it gets pretty rough. If you are trying to get New York to relinquish jurisdiction of a custody and jurisdiction matter, call The Militello Law Firm. We have successfully convinced New York Courts to relinquish jurisdiction in the past, and we can help you.
During our initial consultation, I will discuss your case with you, and we can begin to develop a strategy for how you are going to move with your kids. Initial consultations are not free, but they are valuable. Please contact us to schedule a meeting. We charge a flat rate for initial consultations so that we can meet, discuss your case, and talk about a strategy. (585) 485-0025