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How do I change my child custody jurisdiction from WA to AZ?

Phoenix, AZ |

I am currently living in AZ (been here for 2 yrs) and want to change my child custody jurisdiction to AZ from WA as AZ is our residence. What steps do I need to take to make this happen so in the future if I want to file changes to my parenting plan and so forth I can do it in AZ? Thank you, in advance, for your help.

Attorney Answers 2


Courts will typically not transfer a case from one jurisdiction (state) to another unless an action has been filed in the new state. I would therefore not recommend that you attempt to transfer the case to Arizona until you need to modify or enforce the WA order.

Be aware that Washington could retain jurisdiction over its original custody order if the other parent remains in Washington. Please see the attached link to the relevant statute.

Once you feel it necessary to modify the custody/parenting time orders, you will need to register an exemplified copy of the WA order with the Arizona court, along with the required legal documents to get it registered. You will likely need legal assistance with these documents. You may then file a petition to modify at the same time you file to register the WA order.

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An additional factor is whether or not the other parent continues to reside in the state of Washington. If the other parent has moved from Washington, then an Arizona court should accept jurisdiction under the facts as stated. You will still need to follow the procedures set out in prior answer to your question.

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What if when you got the divorce it was done in Idaho where your ex lived who filed but at the time you and your daughter lived in WA so the parenting plan had to be done in WA but the other parent doesn't even live in that state. I'm in the same boat I moved to AZ and would like to modify her visitation but want to do it through AZ courts not WA courts since we now live down here.

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