Got divorced three years ago and agreed kids could relocate to Florida with Mother and spend summers and vacations with me in Massachusetts. She is now relocating to Arizona which drives up my travel time and ability to see the kids (I travel to Florida several time a year to visit). It also drives up the cost of travel which she is supposed to absorb based on our SE but she is refusing. I want to modify the custodial arrangement and have the kids visit me more often and file a contempt on travel costs. Where do I file????
As a Massachusetts divorce judgment, you can file the contempt here - which has several obvious advantages to you. A court always keeps the power to enforce its own orders.
But to modify the children's custodial arrangement, it will depend on the laws of Florida and Arizona. Normally, jursidiction remains in the place where the children live for six months after they move - so if they relocated to Florida 3 years ago, Florida has jurisdiction and the clock starts ticking as soon as they no longer reside in Florida. You should speak to a Florida and an Arizona lawyer about the jurisdictional issues and decide which one will be more favorable to you in terms of seeking a modification.
You should also consider filing for a change in support. Extraordinary costs for travel are typically a basis for deviating from the Child Support Guidelines, which have been updated since you divorced, and as long as you are residing in Massachusetts jurisdiction over support remains here (unless the parties agree otherwise). So you should talk to a Massachusetts lawyer about how support could change and whether you would benefit from the change to the Guidelines.
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Most likely, you would file a Modification and a Contempt in Massachusetts. However, with any complicated jurisdictional and procedural issue, I always recommend actually speaking with an attorney to discuss the details of your specific case. Every case is fact specific and there is certain, important information lacking in your question.
Reach out to any attorney and get this resolved as quickly as possible. I wish you the very best of luck.
Very truly yours,
Anthony Rao, Esq.
The above response is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer, and any communication between us is not protected by attorney-client privilege.
The answer to this question will be in your Separation Agreement. Either you called out that Massachusetts would retain jurisdiction or you didn't. Consult with an attorney. If your case is in Florida, you will need to file before she leaves again.
Consultation with an attorney is the only way to be sure that all relevant information will be factored and the right legal options and solutions will be provided. This answer is provided very limited and for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on, and does not create a client-attorney relationship.
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