Custody Agreement in State Where Neither Party Lives
Occasionally, parents encounter a unique situation when they are attempting to modify a custody arrangement. The original court case took place in a different state, for example, Arizona, and now neither parent lives in Arizona. While you normally would continue to file pleadings in the state where the case originated, it’s not necessary when neither parent lives in that state anymore. You simply need to domesticate the foreign order in the state where the child primarily lives. If the original case is in Arizona, dad lives in New Mexico now, and mom lives in California, but child is with dad full time and spends summers with mom, the case will be domesticated in New Mexico.
The process for domesticating a foreign order in New Mexico is simple. You need a certified copy of the final order from the previous state, and then you file a Petition to Domesticate Foreign Court Order and attach the final order. The other parent will need to be served with a copy of the Petition, but it’s generally not an issue to switch the case to a different state, as long as the child spends most of his or her time here. The court will set a hearing, and once the judge decides to domesticate the order, you are good to go! The case is now transferred to New Mexico and you are free to modify custody, timesharing, or child support however you need to.
There is one important rule to remember: if you are trying to domesticate a court order in New Mexico, both you and the child need to have lived in New Mexico for at least six months for the court here to take jurisdiction. If it hasn’t been six months, you can either file in the original state or wait it out in New Mexico until you hit six months. If it’s an emergency situation and somebody is in danger, contact an attorney for help.
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