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Make Sure You Have A Custody Order In Place

Couples in New Jersey who get divorced often have many concerns to address, the most important being child custody and child support, if children are involved. But what many people don’t think about is what could happen if custody is not addressed in a divorce.

Take, for example, the experience of one couple. The couple got a quick, no-fault divorce that did not take into account what would happen to their 4-year-old son. Because the couple maintained a good relationship, there was not much cause for concern, until the ex-husband remarried and moved thousands of miles away.

One summer, when the mother, who maintained custody, sent the son to live with his father for six weeks, the father decided that he did not want the son to return to his mother. Because custody had not been addressed in their divorce, the father was now suing for custody of the boy. The man’s new wife reportedly said that if the boy lived with him he would stop having to pay the mother child support.

One of the complications in this case was the issue of which state had jurisdiction. The mother attempted to get the father’s lawsuit thrown out because the boy had not lived in the new state long enough. But after enough delays, the man was able to proceed with his lawsuit.

What one family law expert said was that the mother should have not sent the boy to live with the father without a court-approved custody agreement in place. This could have been used in court to get order the boy’s return to his mother. It is good to have an amicable relationship with your ex for the good of any children, but it’s not smart to trust them to look out for your best interests.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Two Big Child Custody Mistakes To Avoid,” Bob Jeffries, Dec. 26, 2012