Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My son and his former girlfriend have a 2 year old daughter. Paternity has been established. The girlfriend has been gone for over 2 weeks- she left the baby with the maternal grandmother. Does my son have a legal right to go and get his daughter. We now live in Georgia.

Answer:

This is a delicate situation where additional facts are necessary.  There is really no definitive answer that can be provided by this site. It is strongly recommended that your son consult with an Arizona attorney before he takes any steps to remove his daughter from mother's care.  The following recommendations, links, and questions may be helpful to your son for the purpose of a general assessment:

(1) It is recommended that your son review the paternity order that is currently in effect.  Does the paternity order provide for custody and parenting time (or is it only for paternity and child support). If there is an order regarding custody and parenting time, then your son is bound by those court orders until a modification (generally by the same court) take place.

(2)  If there are no orders regarding custody/parenting time then establishing such an order may be a recommended course of action.   If the child has been residing in Arizona with mother since birth or at least for the past six months, there is a presumption that Arizona is the state where custody proceedings should be commenced.   There are strict laws in effect regarding a court's ability to exercise jurisdiction over a child.  Arizona adheres to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA").  (This act can be found under A.R.S. 25-1031, et seq.). In states that have adopted the UCCJEA, (such as Arizona), child custody determinations (in general) may be made in a state that is considered the "home state" of the child.  Home state is generally defined as the state where the child has resided with at least one parent for the past six months (or if the child is less than six months of age - since birth).   Again, it is strongly recommended that your son consult with an attorney regarding the specific details involving his situation so he can determine, if necessary, where to bring a custody action.  The information provided in this response is a general overview based on limited information.

 The following links may also be helpful to your son:

Maricopa County Self Service Center:

Modifying Custody, Parenting Time

Establishing Custody and Parenting Time

Pima County Self Service Center:

Family Law Forms

Yavapai County Self Service Center

Family Law Forms 

Coconino County Self Service Center:

Family Law Forms

QUESTIONS

  • My son and his former girlfriend have a 2 year old daughter. Paternity has been established. The girlfriend has been gone for over 2 weeks- she left the baby with the maternal grandmother. Does my son have a legal right to go and get his daughter. We now live in Georgia.

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

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