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My ex moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey. Do I need to have a lawyer domesticate our visitation agreement?

Hackensack, NJ |

My ex is trying to change a PR visitation agreement to reduce my time with the children. Should my counsel "Domesticate" our agreement?

The New Jersey Judge said in her mind Puerto Rico is a "black hole". It is a US Territory and neither a foreign country nor a US state. Must I really worry that PR Agreements are not applicable here in NJ? Worse, my Counsel has advised me to permit the court to re-open the case and so now it seems I am re-litigating the whole mess. Our sworn parenting plan was just executed less than 5 months ago after 2 years of war in the Puerto Rican courts!

I feel like I am being taken to the cleaners both by my ex and by my counsel. Am I getting bad counsel? Should we not have stuck to our sworn agreement instead of starting this all over in New Jersey?

Attorney Answers 4


You should be able to seek the enforcement of the written, executed agreement, whether it was drafted and executed in accordance with the laws of Puerto Rico or another State. By way of example, if parties were to divorce in New York, have a "filed" Final Judgment of Divorce entered in New York which provided for issues of custody and parenting time and the parties and children were to both move to New Jersey (and reside in New Jersey over a considerable period of time); and they found themselves wanting to litigate issues of custody and parenting time the proper procedure would be to commence an action in New Jersey, domesticate the New York Final Judgment of Divorce, etc... The Judge in New Jersey would generally accept the terms of the Order entered in New York as controlling. Your situation should be no different, absent your ex establishing a significant, permanent change of circumstances since the time the "agreement" had been executed.

Kenneth A. White, Esq.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney

The Answer provided was based on the limited information provided, and represents information based on the law in general, not a legal opinion that can be relied upon. Before a formal legal opinion can be offered I would need an opportunity to review all possible relevant facts and circumstances. You cannot rely on the advice of an attorney given over the internet. The exact facts of your sitaution, including facts which you have not mentioned in your question, may completely change the opinion that is being offered. Please be aware that the above comments are neither protected by attorney-client privilege, nor may the same be the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.

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Puerto Rico is a US territory and its judgments are enforceable here on the mainland. Indeed, they have a US Federal District Court there and are part of the 1st Circuit.
You may want to seek the advice of another attorney.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

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Courts favor agreements between the parties. You would file a motion to enforce the agreement-enforcement of litigant's rights. Who is the Judge handling the case?

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I have a million more questions that I would want to ask you before I venture into an opinion. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, please contact my office. 201-880-9770. Just so you know, I have vast experience in these types of matters dealing with 2 separate jurisdictions and which "state" is appropriate to proceed and in what manner (modification vs. just enforcement). I just do not want to jump ahead and give you advice without knowing all the details. Thank you!

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