In certain situations, parents may try to regain control of child custody situations by suddenly moving with their children across state lines. These parents are typically hoping that the new state will rule in their favor — although federal law makes it a crime to relocate children without the knowledge of all parents and guardians. When a parent illegally relocates with children, it may even be considered abduction.
Abduction and custody decisions
For divorces that are filed in Utah, the state typically has jurisdiction over all custody decisions, no matter where the parent relocates the children. When a parent unlawfully takes children across state lines, authorities set out to locate the children and return them to their home state. Such a transgression can impact a judge’s ruling on future custody decisions. Typically, it is difficult for parents who abducted children to gain full custody after the event.
Additionally, judges may see abduction as a form of child abuse. Abruptly relocating children without their consent or time to prepare can be extremely stressful and emotionally damaging. Further, intentionally separating children from the other parent may have an impact on their mental health for years to come. Behavior that is determined to be abusive will factor into the court’s decisions on child custody and visitation rights.
Legal implications of abduction
In the state of Utah, parental abduction is illegal. Any parent who suddenly relocates children by moving them across state lines is committing a crime. If the parent does not comply with the authorities, and refuses to have the children return to their home state it may be considered a felony and can result in kidnapping allegations.
Court Affirms Same-Sex Spouses as Parents
The Courts have recently affirmed same-sex spouses are both parents to a child born during their marriage.
The state of Utah, when appropriate, seeks to legitimatize the parenthood of two people who are parents to a child of their marriage. In this case, the birth mother of a child born into a same-sex marriage sought to exclude the other parent.
In that case, the couple was married in a civil ceremony after the legality of same-sex marriage in Utah. The couple decided to try to become pregnant and undertook the following:
• In consent documents signed by both women, the couple authorized and requested fertility services.
• Both women tried to become pregnant through artificial insemination for approximately two years.
• The birth mother became pregnant and her partner ceased efforts at pregnancy.
• Both parties were actively involved in prenatal care and breastfeeding classes, baby health classes, baby showers and doctor appointments.
• When the child was born, the spouse was present and the couple agreed on a name. The birth mother and her spouse were listed as parents on the birth certificate of the child.
Shortly after the birth of the child, the spouse left the household. The newborn child lived with both parents for only one week. Several months later, the birth mother filed for divorce and refused to allow her partner to visit their baby.
The court, after deliberation, found that children born as a result of artificial insemination are considered the issue of a marriage. Pregnancy and parenthood are fraught with emotion. When divorce is added, the matter quickly becomes complicated. In this case, the court upheld the right of the spouse to be considered an equal partner to the birth-mother. This is a new change that we haven’t seen before.
Child Support Lawyer Free Consultation
If you have a question about child support please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your free consultation. We will help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506