Tucson, AZ asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Arizona

Q: Can I move back to Texas with my son where all my family are when his dad works here in AZ and still get child support?

We both have TX IDs still so I don’t know which state has jurisdiction to handle our case. We’ve lived in AZ for a year now. I have a big family support system back in Texas and his father doesn’t really have much support with extended family here in AZ. I cant afford to live here anymore and want to move back to TX with my son while also getting child support from his dad who would want joint custody but can’t move back to TX himself. I’m not sure who to talk to about this matter or which state courts to get this done. Please help.

2 Lawyer Answers
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: This is an incredibly complex question for an "Ask-a-lawyer" service but I will give you the highlights.

Your answer depends on whether or not you were married to the father and whether or not you have a custody order from Texas or any other state. Assuming you are not married and have never had a custody order issued by the Court, there is no existing jurisdiction. Assuming you are not a domestic violence victim, the State of Arizona currently has jurisdiction and will for the first six months after you move should you relocate to Texas. If the father allows you to move back and you are there for six months, then the State of Texas will obtain jurisdiction over the child. If the father objects to your move and files an action in the courts in Arizona, they will almost certainly assert jurisdiction and you will have to litigate the matter in Arizona.

If you file for child support before the six months are up, you risk having Arizona assert their jurisdiction. The courts would have the authority to order you to return to Arizona.

Stephen M Vincent agrees with this answer

Stephen M Vincent
Stephen M Vincent
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Presuming this is the first time anyone will have filed for custody, Arizona has jurisdiction. For Texas to have jurisdiction, your child will have to live there for six months prior to the first filing for custody.

Child support will still be ordered.

If Father agreed to your move, get it in writing and signed.

If he doesn't, send him a notice via certified mail, return receipt requested, to notify him of your move. It must be sent at least 45 days prior to your move. It sets a deadline for him to challenge your move. If he does not challenge the move within 30 days, he can still challenge it, but he has to show good cause as to why he waited.

If he does challenge, you have to persuade the judge that the move is in your child's best interests. Courts don't favor Mothers over Fathers in Arizona, and generally, judges are reluctant to allow one parent to move with the child away from the other parent. That said, if you can convince them that this move is in your child's best interests, they will allow it. I just want you to be aware that it can be an uphill fight.

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