Legal Question in Family Law in Louisiana

Custodial parent ordered to move from PA to LA or lose custody

A custodial parent (mother) of one minor child, age 7, moved from home state of Louisiana to Pennsylvania to pursue nursing career and personal relationship which culminated in engagement to be married to school teacher firmly established in Pennsylvania. Father subsequently sued for custody. Custodial parent (mother) traveled to appear at hearing. Family law parish judge, in chambers, instructed mother to relocate to Louisiana or he would be inclined to award custody of child to father. Mother is upstanding young woman, age 27, with fine career and no history of alcohol, drug, or child abuse. Is this constitutional? What is defense?

Asked on 10/25/98, 8:33 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Re: move from PA to LA or lose custody

The desicion have to be based on the best interest of the minor and taking into consideration the duty of the state as a "parent".

The constitutionality depends on the basis of the decision. Defense! Be sure to built a record of the reasons why custody should not change, a reasonable propose visitation schedule for the father can help.

Good luck!

Frank Pola

Law Office of Frank Pola, Jr.

El Centro II, Suite 260, Muņoz Rivera Ave. #500

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Answered on 1/01/99, 8:24 pm

Lawrence (Larry) Hoffing New Orleans Law, LLC

Re: move from PA to LA or lose custody

Without having more facts, I can only give a general answer. If the mother has primary custody, she is supposed to notify the other parent of the proposed relocation. Absent consent, the child is supposed to be kept within the jurisdiction of the court until there is an order. Failure to provide notice or obtain court authorization may provide a basis for ordering the return of the child. Moving without consent or court approval may constitute a change of circumsances warranting a modification of custody. The relocating parent has the burden of prof that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and is in the best interest of the child. There are several factors that are used in determining contested relocation, including, the relationship with the relocating parent, age and needs of child, feasibility of preseving relationship between non relocating parent, child's preference, enhancement of general quality of life, reasons for relocation, best interest. It's possible that a civil warrant could be issued in LA to direct law enforcement to return the child, then filed in the PA courts for enforcement, or an action could be filed directly in PA courts.

Lawrence (Larry) Hoffing

Lawrence Hoffing, Attorney at Law

12621 River Rd.

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Answered on 1/02/99, 11:37 am

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