Q: What are my options at virtual mediation? Child wants to stay with me and it is much safer here anyway.
High-conflict divorce and custody dispute, with ex having a lifelong history of mental illness diagnoses and treatments. Divorce and custody arrangement finalized in a previous state of residence where she still resides. Child is currently with me in MA and has been since the start of the pandemic. We share joint legal and joint physical custody.
Last year I notified her of my intent to relocate to MA in accordance with the court order. She proposed an alternating monthly schedule I agreed with (have her on record and on voice recording stating this), and then she pulled the rug out from under our agreement on the very day we were supposed to tell our child what the new schedule would be together. She imposed a new schedule on us (not agreed to), said she would be sticking to it, and then did not do so. She kept our child with her out-of-state for the year citing school as the justification.
Child has now been with me in MA since March, and we are going to virtual mediation.
A: Because the child has not been living in Massachusetts for at least 6 months, our Probate Courts do not yet have jurisdiction over custody and visitation as the former state of residence still is the home state until then. However, if there is a safety concern about the child going to the other jurisdiction based upon the other parent's situation posing a risk to the child, Massachusetts could determine to take the case in the child's interest . These are difficult cases and sometimes there is action commenced in the other state- home state- side by side!
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