As the best child custody lawyers in Gilbert AZ we often get asked, “what happens if my ex-spouse flees the state with my child?” There’s a lot of strange things that can sometimes happen when parties are going through a divorce. Once in a while, we have someone come in our office stressed out, completely under, because one of the other parents has done something that has affected his or her relationship with their child. For example, we recently had a case where a mother going through divorce situation took the child from the state of Arizona and left, really without consent of the other parent or from an order from the court. As you can imagine, the father was stressed out. He didn’t know where his child was, he didn’t know how to get ahold of the child, course he didn’t agree for the child to even leave in the first place. The mother was being completely vindictive and refused to bring the child back to Arizona, so that he could be with his father.
The father hired us to help him find the child and get him back to Arizona. Now, this was not a very easy process. To start, we had to file a petition with the court requesting that the court order that the mom brings the minor child back to the state of Arizona. The first problem that arose in that process was that: you have to serve the other party with the petition. Well how in the world do you serve somebody who’s left the state, and you don’t know where they’re at? That was the first problem that we had to solve. After making as many attempts as we could possibly make to serve her through normal means by sending a process server. We had actually go and get permission from the court to serve by publication. Now this is a process where you can actually publish the petition that you’re filing in a newspaper, and that gives notice to the other party that somebody has filed something in court and that they have to respond. That’s a long process, and it’s not very easy. It took us about a month to do that.
Only after we served her through publication were we able to go in front of the judge. Now the judge had some limitations, at least that’s what she thought. Through some hard work and legal research we were able to convince the judge that she could order that the mother return the child to Arizona through the process of issuing something called a warrant. This was a warrant that required mother to bring the child back to Arizona. Well that was a victory for us, but we still had a problem. How do we get somebody not in the state of Arizona to execute this warrant? What we wanted to do was to have a law enforcement officer wherever mom was, take this warrant to mom, physically take the child and bring him back to Arizona. After a lot of work and research and, frankly, a little bit of help from an anonymous tipster, we were able to find the mother had taken the minor child to the state of Florida.
The next problem that we encountered was, how do we take this warrant and get somebody in Florida to go over to mom’s house and say: “Let’s go, we’re taking the child back to Arizona.” What we found out is that we had to domesticate that order or that warrant in Florida. Now domesticate is kind of a fancy legal word for getting somebody in Florida to recognize that warrant is valid. We were able to find a legal procedure in Florida that allowed them to recognize the warrant in Arizona and then execute that warrant like any other warrant. This story has a happy ending. We were able to accomplish that domestication process and engage the sheriff’s department down in Florida to go over to mother’s house and physically take the child from the mother and bring him back to Arizona.
Now, divorce situations, as I said in the beginning, create all kinds of stressful situations. Sometimes they’re not very common situations like this case. It’s not every case where somebody flees the state with a child, but when something like that happens, you’re going to need somebody who’s willing to get in your corner and fight hard for you. Someone who’s willing to take some of that stress on. Someone who’s going to give you the reassurance that everything’s gonna be okay, there’s a legal process that allows justice to be done. We do that kind of work everyday. We are dedicated to helping parents facing difficult situations with their children during divorces. We offer an hour consultation, where we hope to put your mind at ease and to give you some advice as to what can be done in any difficult divorce situation. So please, if you’re going through something difficult in a divorce or any other legal matter, give us a call at (480) 999-2321. Thank you.
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