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Can my child's father get custody or visitation if we live in another state?

Boise, ID |

My baby is due in a month. Her father and I broke up the day he found out I was pregnant. I packed up and moved to Idaho (from Washington) and I've been here since. I was OK with him coming to visit her until I learned about his drug and alcohol use, and that he's dating a 17 year old and he's about to turn 25. I told him I didn't want him around my daughter and now he's threatening to take me to court. Would he have to come here to Idaho in order to do so? Also how would any physical custody awarded to him work out? Would he have to move here or would I be expected to drive her 8 hours to see him?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. From what you have stated it sounds like the action would take place in your state of Idaho. As for how it would "work out" that will get decided through the court action, but no he will not be expected to move to Idaho, but will have to arrange the visitation around blocks of time that will work and he can see the child.

    You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


  2. From what you have said, any child custody matter will occur in an Idaho court jthe law in Idaho requires custoday and visitation to be set such that the best interests of the child are addressed Absent exceptional circumstances, Idaho courts believes relationship with both biological parents is in the child's best interests.

    He will not be required to move to Idaho. He may wish to in order to exercise more visitation and be more involved in his child's life (or not). You will likely not be expected to provide transportation both ways; you may be required to provide 1-way transportation depending on the particular facts of your matter.

    I wish you the very best.

    No attorney-client relationship is created by responding to any question on Avvo. Further, nothing contained in any response may be relied upon as legal advice.


  3. In matters of child custody, as a general rule courts must determine the best interests of the child, and decree custodial access rights without ordering either parent to live in a particular place. Only the residence of the child is at issue. No court other than Idaho would have any reason to exercise jurisdiction over a child in the circumstances you describe. When the child is born, either parent can petition the Idaho court to decree the paternity of the father, and then the court will order support according to the Idaho Child Support Guidelines and custody according to Idaho Code. Custody orders provide for legal custody, which is the longterm right to access information and to participate in inportant decisions regarding the upbringing of the child. The law strongly favors joint legal custody. Physical custody,which is the day to day care of the child will be allocated in a manner that makes it possible for the child to grow up knowing both parents, which is the child's absolute right. You have explained why you have a low opinion of the father, but nothing about yourself except that you have decided that you "don't want him around." Be aware that an Idaho court will not support that kind of selfishness, and your moving may be seen by the Idaho court as a negative factor in your parenting. Your child deserves two fully functioning parents, even if they choose to live in two different states, and the possibility that the father can "take you to court" and prevail with an decree that grants him primary physical custody (and you paying support) is very real.

    Best wishes for an outcome that favors the best interets of your child,and pleasde remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.