Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can My Spouse Move Away With Our Child Or Children Or Interfere With My Relationship With Our Children?

Sometimes when a spouse talks about getting a divorce, the other spouse threatens to move away with the couple’s child(ren). Local law enforcement may not offer any relief, as biological or adoptive parents are not “kidnapping” the child(ren). Filing for a divorce in a county domestic relations court (when the couple is married) or filing for custody and/or visitation orders in a juvenile court (when the couple is unmarried) may offer some protection.
Sometimes a spouse alienates the affection shared between the couple's children and the other spouse. Spouses can be enjoined from committing such acts and contempt proceedings can be initiated when a parent involves the couple's children in a manner that would interfere with the relationship between the couple's children and the other parent.
The following two excerpts from the Warren County, Ohio Domestic Relations Court Local Rules and Forms illustrate potential protections during divorce proceedings. An attorney can assist you in asserting your parental rights.

Notice of intent to Relocate.

If you are a residential parent or participate in a shared parenting plan and intend to move, you must file a Notice of Intent to Relocate with the Clerk of Courts and mail a copy to the other party.
Notice must be sent within the following time frames.
1. If relocating within Warren County-at least thirty days in advance of the move.
2. If relocating outside Warren County-at least sixty days in advance of the move.
If either party seeks a change in parenting orders as a result of relocation, that party shall file a motion with the court and schedule a hearing. (See Warren County DR Form 8.)

Mutual Restraining Order
1.Threatening, abusing, stalking, annoying, or interfering with the other party or the parties’child(ren);
2. Incurring credit in the name of the other party or in the parties’ joint names, except for necessary food, housing, utilities, medical care and necessary transportation, or allowing a lien or loan to be placed against their real or personal property;
3. Selling, disposing of, or dissipating any of their real or personal property, including money (other than regular income), of either party, or removing household goods and furniture from the marital residence;
4. Changing or failing to renew the present health, life, home, automobile, or other insurance coverage; removing the other party as a beneficiary on any life insurance or retirement benefits without further order of this Court;
5. Removing the minor children of the parties from Ohio except for holidays or vacations (not to exceed ten days);
6. Claiming the children as dependents on any income tax return without prior Court order.
Nothing in the above restraining order prevents a spouse from using his or her property to pay necessary and reasonable attorney fees, litigation and court costs in this action. (See Warren County DR Form 7.)
When your spouse violates court rules or court orders you can have your attorney initiate proceedings to have your spouse held in contempt of court. The court can impose a variety of sanctions against a spouse who is held in contempt of court.
The Parental Kidnapping Protection Act (PKPA; (Pub.L. 96-611, 94 Stat. 3573, enacted December 28, 1980; 28 U.S.C. § 1738A).
Purpose: to establish national standards for the assertion of child custody jurisdiction within the United States. The home state where a child resided within the past six months is given preference in order to prevent forum shopping. Forum shopping occurs when one parent commences an action in another state for the purpose of obtaining a favorable court ruling.
In addition to its provisions for full faith and credit, the Act provides that a State cannot modify the child custody decree of another state without complying with the terms of the Act. When a State modifies a previous child custody order not in compliance with the Act, the modification shall not be entitled to full faith and credit in other states.
1999 Congressional amendment included “visitation” rights in the definition of “custody” rights covered by the Act.
The above information is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. The information presumes you are not currently represented by an attorney who knows your specific circumstances.


  1. See, Custody means the obligation to control, care for, supervise and educate a child. In 20 states, custody is split into two types: physical custody and legal custody. There are consequences of being the non-custodial parent, such as not being able to take the child out of state without permission, nor the ability to make parental decisions about the child's education, religious training or medical care.

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