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Can I get in trouble or moving out of CA state with my children when I have full legal and physical custody?

Phoenix, AZ |

I made the decision to move out of state with my 2 children. I had a 2 year r.o. against my ex and it just ended Jan 2013. My ex has supervised visitation up to 10hours/ week, but hasnt seen them in almost 2 years, because he does not want supervised visits. I moved to Phoenix in October with my fiance. As soon as the restraining order expired I started getting more frequent calls from my ex wanting to check on the kids and see them. I went through a lot to get away from him and make sure that myself and children are safe. I have not answered or returned his calls, so he filed paperwork regarding child support that i am supposed to fill out and return to the court. Im sure that this is just for him to find out where I am. Im terrified of what he would do to me, or kids, to hurt me.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If you feel you or your children are in danger, the first thing you should do is obtain a new Order of Protection. When you apply for an Order of Protection, you typically have to allege events that occurred within the last year, but if there was a previous Order in place that worked, there won't be much to reference, so be sure to explain that you had a previous Order and bring a copy of it with you.

    Second, your ex is entitled to file various Petitions with the Court regarding Custody, Parenting Time and Child Support. Make sure you comply with the Court's deadlines, because the last thing you want is for him to be awarded a default judgment. If you are worried about him having your address, you can ask for a Protected Address--a link to the form is listed below.

    Finally, remember that your ex is entitled to see his kids. You can ask the Court to keep visitation supervised or cancel visitation all together, but he can always come back later and ask that restrictions on parenting time be lifted. You could also seek to have his parental rights terminated. Whatever you decide, it sounds like a complicated situation and you may want to consult a qualified attorney. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Kristen DeWitt-Lopez of DeWitt-Lopez Law, P.C. may be reached at 602.263.3900 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at kristen@dllawaz.com. More information about Ms. DeWitt-Lopez can be found on her website at www.dllawaz.com. All of Ms. DeWitt-Lopez’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Kristen DeWitt-Lopez is licensed to practice in the State of Arizona. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  2. In addition to the points raised by the other attorney, once you obtain the new order of protection, you should Petition the Court to allow for relocation to California. You cannot do this without the Court's approval or Father's consent. Since it sounds like he wants to exercise his parenting time (but change the conditions to unsupervised), he will likely object to the Petition to Relocate. You will need a good qualified family law attorney, one who has dealt with contested Petitions to Relocate, to handle this for you. Before hiring any attorney, ask them exactly how many such petitions they have previously handled and the outcome since not all family law attorneys are created equally and only a very small portion of those who practice in that area have actually dealt with a Petition to Relocate before.

    Attorney is Licensed in Arizona, California, and Colorado only. The opinions and comments offered are in the nature of general business advice relating to generic questions that might be raised. The use of this site is not intended to form an attorney client relationship of any kind. The reader is advised that every situation is different and you should always consult in person with a licensed attorney for the particular jurisdiction in question when your legal rights may be effected.


  3. I understand that you moved from California to Arizona in October. It does not sound like you petitioned the California court to move, or provided notice to your ex in advance of your move. You do not say that you had permission to move with the children in your decree. You should consult a California family law attorney regarding what steps to take to make sure you can stay in Arizona, given that you have already moved. Your ex can still file with the California court to address the relocation issue since the case still remains in California. It's best for you to address this head on before he does. I also agree with my colleagues that renewing your Order of Protection is best.

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