Can an order be initiated to change a custody status from joint to sole?

Question:

Can an order be initiated to change a custody status from joint to sole?

The divorce decree states Joint custody, but that’s when my ex-husband and I lived in the same county.  Now the father of the child has moved out to the east coast with his current wife and two kids as I stay back in the west coast with our child. Being that the he is not around the child as much as before and I am now the primary caregiver supporting and providing for the child without any help from him, can an order be initiated to change the custody status?

Answer:

I do believe that the fact that he now lives across the country is likely not sufficient grounds to take away his right to make decisions.

Obviously, the Parenting Plan will need to be addressed to modify his Parenting Time. He would be entitled to longer visits in the summer and alternating breaks from school with the kids, but his decision to move across country alone does not make him any less the child’s father.

If he voluntarily chose to no longer be a part of the child’s life, that would be a different matter, but the miles alone do not alter his rights to be a dad.

You mentioned that he is not helping you. If there is no child support ordered or if it is insufficient, you can also Petition the court to Modify or Order Child Support.

Most family law firms here in AZ do not charge for a consultation. I would suggest that you consult with a local attorney to help you decide how best to proceed.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

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