Can my childs father be granted custody because I moved to NY from VA ? He knew I moved and lied and was granted joint custody

Asked over 1 year ago - Baldwin, NY

My daughter moved out of VA in July of last year with my granddaughter who is now 14 months old. Her father petition the court in VA and was granted joint custody in Aug without my daughters knowledge. She never received notice to come to court He told the court she was on vacation and just didn't show up for court. She had moved already to NY and he knew it. He has now petitioned for full custody? He pays no child support and has made no attempt to see her. She was notified in NY by VA court to come to court in April and we don't know what to expect. Could she have an issue because she moved and can she request that custody be changed from joint to full because she lives out of state? Real concerns about his environment. He has juvenile charges for arm robbery and drug possession.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Thomas J Callahan

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . On the assumption that VA law is like that here in Mass and in NY, your daughter may not have been able to move without his consent or court approval. I say "may" only because I am not aware of their marital status or whether he has yet to be legally established as the father. Whatever his status up until now, he still has the right to petition to establish paternity and get involved, and that will mean he possibly gains rights of both custody and visitation and the obligation of child support. If he lied to gain a temporary custody ruling, I presume that lie can be easily demonstrated to his ultimate disadvantage. Your daughter needs to retain a family law attorney in VA. She needs to seek sole physical custody. If he is irresponsible and they can't make decisions together, she needs to seek sole legal custody. She needs to get approval of her move to NY, demonstrating that it is in the best interests of the child to be there and there is advantage to her. She needs to ask for child support by wage assignment. She needs to bring up his history of non-involvement to date and any present circumstances in his life that would argue against custody to him. His juvenile record may be irrelevant. She really needs the help of an attorney to do this.

    To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a... more
  2. Marco Caviglia

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Your daughter must respond as soon as possible to the litigation in Va., including possibly moving to vacate the prior court order and citing compelling circumstances. Unfortunately, as she is in NY, she may be quite inconvenienced by addressing litigation in Va. Even though he has a terrible history, unless she fights what he is doing, the worst things may happen.

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  3. Pieter G. Weinrieb

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Your daughter should file a competing petition in a New York Court. Generally, the state where the child resides is considered the home state. This is a jurisdictional question that needs more facts to analyze. She should contact an Attorney in Virginia before making any kind of appearance. Also, he must establish paternity before having any right to petition. The custody award in Virginia may not apply if she was never properly served the petition for custody.

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