Changes to decree - where do I file?
I divorced my husband in NJ, where we lived. I have since moved to VA, with the court's and my ex-husband's permission. I'm also remarried. My ex sees our son one weekend a month, and we have joint custody, according the the agreement filed in NJ. I want to change the agreement to get full custody, since my son is with us 49 out of 52 weeks per year, and I'd like to change the visitation agreement b/c the commute to NJ each month is rough on a 4 year old. Can I apply for these changes in VA, where I live, or does it have to revert to NJ, where my ex still resides?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Changes to decree - where do I file?
You asked if you may petition a Virginia court for changes in custody and visitation or if you must go back to the NJ court where the original order was entered. The answer is -- it depends.
If the NJ court retained jurisdiction for any future issues, then NJ would have jurisdiction. If, however, you and the child have lived in VA for more than six months, VA could take jurisdiction over any issues affecting the child. If your ex would agree to a change in jurisdiction, that would solve your problems since you could get the NJ court to transfer the matter to VA based on the agreement of the parties. You should probably consult with an attorney so that he or she can advise you based on all the facts. The VA state bar has a lawyer referral program and many county bar associations in VA have referral programs.
Elizabeth Ann Jones, Esq., 226 Maple Avenue, West, Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180 (703) 281-7606