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Common Interstate Co-Parenting Issues

When Parents Live in Different States

If you and your co-parent live in different states, you are aware of the unique issues you face as you try to co-parent across state lines. Even if you have a positive co-parenting relationship, you may find yourself struggling in ways that parents who live in the same state do not have to deal with. The challenges associated with co-parenting across straight lines become even more intensified when dealing with a dispute.

The good news is that you are not alone in this. Co-parents living in different states are much more common than most people realize. Additionally, you likely have more resources and solutions at your disposal than you realize, especially if you consult with an experienced family law attorney familiar with handling these types of custody situations.

Below we look at some of the common problems parents who live in different states experience, and how you can address them.

The Importance of Establishing Jurisdiction

Before a family law matter, like a custody modification or enforcement, can be dealt with in court, the court with jurisdiction over the case must be identified. No matter what situation you are dealing with, determining jurisdiction can be challenging when co-parents live in two different states. Consequently, the first step to resolving the problem is establishing jurisdiction.

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which Colorado adopted in 2000, the following criteria can determine jurisdiction:

  • The child’s home state
  • Emergency jurisdiction
  • Unjustifiable conduct by one party

Registering an Out-of-State Custody Order in Colorado

If you and/or your child have relocated to a new state, it may be necessary to transfer or register your custody or support orders to the new location. This is especially important if you need to have an order enforced in a new state. However, according to C.R.S. 14-13-203, the Colorado courts cannot modify a custody order made by another state’s court system unless a) that court determines that they no longer have exclusive jurisdiction over the case or b) the Colorado court determines that neither parent nor the child presently resides in the previous state.

As you can see, transferring your custody or support order to a new jurisdiction can be complicated. Because of this, if you need to register a custody order from another state in Colorado, or vice versa, it is always recommended that you seek help from an attorney experienced in dealing with interstate custody matters.

To register a child custody case from another state in Colorado, you must submit:

  • A request for registration in Colorado in the form of a letter or other document
  • Two copies (one certified) of the original custody determination you want to be registered in Colorado
  • The name and address of the person seeking registration of the custody case as well as any parent or person who acts as a parent and has been awarded custody, visitation, parenting time, or parenting responsibilities

Relocating to a New State

Whether you’re coming to or leaving Colorado, if you share a minor child with a former partner or spouse, it is important that you understand how your move will impact your co-parenting relationship both practically and legally. If you are moving out of state with your shared child, you also want to ensure that your move does not violate your existing custody order.

Interstate relocation as a co-parent can be incredibly difficult and complex. It is not uncommon for one parent to dispute the relocation as a move this significant can have a major impact on the affected child/children and their relationship with both of their parents. If your co-parent disputes or challenges your relocation, you will likely have to have the move litigated by the court.

As with any interstate co-parenting dispute or issue, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer before filing any paperwork and certainly before appearing in court. At the Law Office of Greg Quimby, we are well-versed in the unique challenges you face as a parent trying to co-parent across state lines. Call us today to discuss your needs with one of our attorneys.

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