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How to Enforce A Child Custody Order from Another State
Child custody orders carry a lot of weight. Unfortunately, there are situations where one parent, for whatever reason, disobeys the order, and enforcing the child custody order can be more difficult when the parents live in different states. However, if you moved to California, the good news is that a California court can enforce an out-of-state custody order provided that you “register” the out-of-state order here in California. If you are considering this process, contact a family law attorney in Sacramento to discuss your current child custody order.
What is the Registration Process?
Registering an out-of-state custody order in California requires following a defined process that will allow a California family law court to enforce a child custody order obtained from another state. When you register the out-of-state order in California you can enable the California family law court to issue orders to ensure that an out-of-state custody order is followed. If you are not familiar with filing forms in the state of California, consult with a family law attorney that can help you fill out the forms correctly.
The main forms that need to be filed are the Registration of Out-of-State Custody Order, Form FL-580, and the Declaration Under UCCJEA, Form FL-105. These forms ask for some personal information and your child or children’s addresses for the last five years and ask you to identify any other cases related to your child custody matter. You will also need to attach two copies of the child custody order from the other state, one of which must be certified. You can obtain a certified copy by contacting the clerk of the court where the order was originally made.
It is important to understand that if your child custody case involves a child that is registered under Native American tribal ordinances, you may have additional steps in the process of getting an order enforced in a California family law court.
When you file forms to register your child custody in court, you will need to provide the contact information of the other parent. Once the court receives the registration filing, the court will send the notice of the registration to the other parent for you and their right to contest the Registration. The other parent has 20 days from the time of being served to contest the Registration.
Does Registration Modify Custody?
In general, registration in the State of California does not mean your order can or will be modified. In fact, according to California Family Code sec. 3446(b), California law expressly states that a California court “shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify [with the narrow exception of the event the California court has jurisdiction to modify], a registered child custody determination of a court of another state.”
In summary, if you live in California and the other parent lives in the state where the original custody order was signed, it is a good idea to register the out-of-state custody order where you now live. If there are any issues with the other parent not following the terms of the custody order, the California family court can ensure that the order will be enforced. Contact a California family law attorney to help you understand the process and fill out the appropriate forms to help ensure a smooth transition between state courts.