Category Archives: Custody

Moving the court case after the kids move out of state

We live in a mobile society, and kids move with their parents. When parents are divorced or unmarried, then custody and support orders are affected. Courts need to be able to respond to these moves, and their actions are guided by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

Moving and Child Support

Child support orders are entered when parents divorce, or when unmarried parents separate. The court that enters the initial support order is called the issuing tribunal, and the state in which that court is located is called the issuing state.

Even if one or both of the parents moves from the issuing state, that original court will continue to control the amount of the child support, and the enforcement of the support order.

Moving and Enforcement of Support

When the paying parent moves away from the issuing state, the case can be registered in the Continue reading

Child Custody and Moving Out of State

Moving out of state by a parent can have a significant impact on child custody orders. Such a move can be the deciding factor in an initial custody decision. It could also trigger a change of custody in existing court orders. Finally, moving out of state could result in moving the entire child custody case to a court in another state.

Moving and Initial Child Custody Orders

Initial custody orders generally come from the court where the kids are living. If a parent decides to move during the custody proceeding, there will usually be some preference for leaving the kids with the parent that is remaining.

This preference will be especially strong if the kids are in the locale where there are grandparents, uncles, cousins, and other family members.

The moving parent will often end up paying most, if not all, of the cost of visitation, even if they get custody of the children.

Moving and Existing Custody Orders

Whenever either parent moves out of state, a review of the existing custody arrangement may be triggered. This will usually come about if the move will result in a change in visitation opportunities for the non-custodial parent.

If the parents live near a state border, a short move across state lines is not likely to cause, or Continue reading

Should I take the kids to Disney World or do I obey school attendance laws?

There are many people who consider a trip to Disneyland or Disney World a treat of a lifetime for their school age kids.  Hey, I mean what kid doesn’t want to go to a Disney park at least once?

school attendance lawsDisney is such a draw, that people actually  take their kids out of school to take them there.  Is this a good idea?  Well, if you are an intact family, who will complain?  However, if you are a divorced or separated parent, then the other parent might.

If you are going through a divorce, or a custody proceeding, then you can be sure that the other parent will object to kids missing school for Disney (or any other cool activity).

School attendance laws require school attendance

Most school districts in most states have compulsory attendance laws.  This means that most schools require students to attend school when it is in session.

These rules are often broken, because some parents want to travel when kids are supposed to be in school, so they can avoid crowds, or they can fit the travel into the parent’s schedule.

Missing school does not cause legal problems when parents are getting along, and both of them are “on board” for the kids playing hooky.

The problems arise when the parents are fighting over custody and visitation.

The truth is, that most Judges are not OK with kids missing school.  Even for good reasons, such as parents or grandparents taking the kids out of school to take them to Disney World.

The judges might be against it from their own experiences, or they may be familiar with studies  suggesting that missing school is bad for kids.

One study has found that missing school negatively impacts student success.   By receiving fewer hours of instruction, students often perform poorly on exams.  Upon their return to school, absent students often feel a sense of alienation from their teachers and other students, which inhibits their ability to learn.

In any case, taking your kids out of school gives the impression that you do not take their education seriously, and that therefore, you are not as good a parent as you could be.

It has been my experience that evidence of a parent taking their kid out of school for things like a fabulous trip to Disney World, (or a week of hunting in Wyoming), is looked down upon by almost all judges hearing custody cases.

Therefore, if you are involved in a custody battle, or think that custody of your children might become an issue in your life, then make sure your kids are always in school.

Posted by Steve Harton


Enforcing visitation rights yourself in Wyoming

The most common and frustrating issues facing divorced or separated parents of children are  violations of Court ordered visitation terms.  Enforcing  visitation rights yourself is the first thing you should consider.

Parents won’t pick up the kids when they are supposed to. Parents won’t drop off the kids when they are supposed to.  Parents plan activities for the kid when the other parent is supposed to have them.

When parents want to enforce a court order, they need to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause.

However, most parents cannot afford to hire a lawyer every time there is a violation, so things get uncorrected.  Frustration, anger and resentment builds against the other parent.  Worst of all, the parents’ relationship with their child suffers as a result.

Fortunately, you do not need an attorney, or even pay a filing fee, to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause.

What is a Motion for an Order to Show Cause?

Basically, a Motion for an Order to Show Cause:

  • Tells the Court that the other parent is violating the Court’s prior orders, and
  • Asks the Court to order the violating parent to appear in front of the Judge and explain why they should not be held in contempt for violating the Court’s orders

After filing the Motion, the Court will issue an Order to Appear and Show Cause, setting a hearing where both parents have to appear.

At the Show Cause hearing, you will have to present your case to the Judge and the other parent will have the opportunity to respond.  The Judge will then decide whether or not the other parent violated the Court’s orders on purpose and whether or not they were justified in violating those orders.

If the Court determines that there was a willful violation without justifiable cause, the Court can find that the parent is in contempt of court.  At that point the Court can issue a remedy or gran relief.

These are usually an order for the parent to stop the violation, an admonishment that further violations can result in more serious sanctions.  The Court can also modify its existing orders, it can impose fines, or it can even send the offending party to jail.

You can find forms for a Motion for an Order to Show Cause by selecting Packet 9 on the Wyoming Supreme  Court Forms page.

By Steve Harton

Steve Harton is a family law attorney in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming.  To find out more about Steve, visit his Lexedia author page.

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