I have recently filed for divorce in Arizona, and my spouse is planning to move to a different state. Will this negatively affect our custody hearing?

In very bitter and high-conflict divorces, gaining child custody can turn into a “power play” of sorts. While some parents use custody to gain leverage in divorce proceedings, many parents become so consumed with what they believe is best for the child that they do whatever they feel is necessary to make that happen.

It is not uncommon in Arizona divorces for one spouse to move out of state. Many parents become concerned that should that happen, the spouse in the different state may gain an advantage in a custody hearing should that state has different rules.

In 1980 the United States passed a law, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), which dictated that the home state of the child has jurisdiction over establishing the custodial agreement. This is to prevent parents from “forum shopping,” or finding a state that will offer a more lucrative custody order that may conflict with the initial ruling.

The PKPA also states that taking a child across state lines to gain custody or restrict parental visitation is a federal crime. If after your Arizona child custody hearing your spouse does move out of state, his or her visitation with your child must follow the guidelines expressly laid out in your Arizona custody agreement. Should your spouse take your child out of state against the custody order, he or she could possible face felony charges under the Fugitive Felon Act.

 Your children mean the world to you, and a divorce and custody agreement should not compromise your legally named visitation rights. If you are concerned about your spouse moving across state lines, contact the Phoenix child custody lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today at 866.929.5292.