Articles Posted in Child Custody

By Carrie E. Kelly, Managing Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

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Although child abduction is not a common occurrence under any circumstances, the most common kind of child abduction is parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping is when a child is taken by a parent in violation of an existing custody order. If there are no court orders in place and there are no court cases such as divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities or paternity pending, it is not kidnapping to remove a child from the state. Where there is an order setting forth custody or parenting time and the children are removed in violation of that order, there are remedies available to help safely return the children.

The most common parental kidnapping scenario involves a custody order from one state while the children are present in another state. In general, law enforcement officers will only step in to enforce an order that is issued by their state. So if the children are in the state of Colorado, Colorado law enforcement needs a Colorado court order in order to act. The fastest way to obtain a Colorado court order when you have an out of state custody order is to file the custody order with Colorado in a process called domesticating the foreign order. This process requires a certified copy of your custody order which you can then file in Colorado with the appropriate motion. Once the custody order is filed with Colorado, the Colorado courts can then direct Colorado law enforcement to take the children and return them to the other parent.

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The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Unless your parenting plan specifies otherwise, your child may not relocate without permission of the other parent or the court. There is no defined number of miles you can move without permission, but the general rule of thumb is that you cannot move out of state or far enough away that it would significantly impact the current parenting time schedule without a motion to relocate.

Technically speaking, the courts cannot order any parent not to relocate. So the real question at issue is whether the child can relocate. The primary residential parent is always free to relocate and to leave the minor child behind if they so choose.

There is a case in Colorado which holds that at an initial parental responsibilities determination, each parent may choose where they want to live and the court must accept that decision and fashion a parenting plan with that in mind. If you already have a parenting plan in place and the other party is not in agreement to relocate the child, you must file a motion to relocate and have a hearing on the issue.

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