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Will a visitation schedule from a divorce decree in NM uphold in CA? My daughter lives with father in Ca, I got divorced in NM

San Diego, CA |

I was married and had a daughter with my husband in California, he was physically abusive, I finally got to a point where I was frightened for my life so I moved out of state to New Mexico. He was living with his parents at the time, I felt I needed to leave my daughter with him because I was scared he would be able to track me down if I took her with me since he would have to know my address to be able to visit and speak with my daughter. I applied for a divorce in NM and had a default divorce due to him not responding. On the divorce I put for joint legal custody and made a parenting agreement that I would be able to have her for summer vacation. He is denying me visitation, so will the visitation plan uphold in CA if I got the divorce decree in NM and visitation plan made in NM?

Attorney Answers 2


If you have a valid order for custody and visitation, then that order is enforceable. I have some concerns about your divorce and custody order, given that it was entered in a state which may not have had subject matter jurisdiction over your divorce or over custody of your daughter, since you last lived with your husband in California and California was/is your daughter's home state. I also do not know the facts of your case well enough to know whether New Mexico had personal jurisdiction over your (hopefully ex) husband. If your husband never made an appearance in the New Mexico case, he may contest the validity of your New Mexico divorce and custody/visitation order. I highly recommend seeing an attorney who is licensed in New Mexico to dicuss the validity and enforcement of the divorce decree and the custody/visitation provisions therein, especially if you did not use an attorney for your divorce.

If your decree is valid, then you can enforce it by filing in the court where the order was entered for him to show cause why he has not complied with the divorce decree if he refuses to send your daughter for visitation. You will need to make sure that he is personally served with the show cause petition and order. You can also have the order domesticated in California and pursue enforcement of it there.

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Yes, a VALID NM order is enforceable in CA. I agree with the other attorney, while there are not enough facts presented, there may be future issues if NM did not acquire jurisdiction correctly. However, if the order is valid and your ex does not seek to challenge its validity, it is enforceable in CA.

James V. Sansone, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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