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How Do I Transfer My Out-of-State Child Custody Order to California?

Child Custody

How Do I Transfer My Out-Of-State Child Custody Order to California?

Are you considering moving to California, or have you recently moved here and had a child custody order issued in another state? If so, it is crucial to understand whether your current order can be transferred to California and the steps required for this process. Our attorneys explain what you need to know about transferring out-of-state custody orders and go over a few reasons why hiring an attorney may make the process more straightforward.

How Can I Register an Out-Of-State Custody Order?

In California, parents with out-of-state custody orders may be able to transfer their current orders without needing to go through the entire legal process of obtaining a new order. By transferring their current order, they can make it legally enforceable in the state of California, meaning a local court would be able to enforce a child custody order even if the order came from a different state.

There are, however, a few steps the parent must follow in order to transfer their current child custody order to California. The process involves filling out the appropriate forms with the court and giving notice to the other parent. You may want to get the help of a child custody attorney to make the process easier.

What Are the Steps to Transfer an Out-Of-State Order to California?

The first step to transfer your child custody order issued in another state is to prepare the required documentation and forms. You can fill out form FL-580 Registration of Out of State Custody Order or write a legal pleading including the same information as you would have written on the form.
Next, you will also want to complete form FL-105, Declaration Under UCCJEA. UCCJEA stands for Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, which is a law adopted by several states, including California. The Act seeks to promote cooperation between states concerning child custody matters while avoiding potential jurisdictional conflict. Form FL-105 will ask for your address and your children’s addresses for the past five years and require you to identify if you have any other pending child custody matters.

Once you have completed both forms, you may also want to attach copies of your original child custody order from out of state. Once everything is filed with the court, the other parent will be sent a notice explaining your intention of registering the custody order in California and giving that parent a deadline to respond. If they wish to contest the order, they will need to do so within the given deadline, which is usually 20 days from receiving the notice.

Can a California Court Modify an Out-Of-State Custody Order?

Transferring an out-of-state custody order to California may also seem like a good opportunity to ask the court to make modifications to your order. Maybe you wish to make changes to your current parenting schedule or some other aspect of your order to accommodate recent changes you may have been through. However, it is crucial to understand what the law says regarding the ability of California courts to make modifications in this case.

However, California laws are very clear when it comes to modifications to child custody orders originating from another state. The California Family Code states that “a court of this state shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify, except in accordance with Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 3421), a registered child custody determination of a court of another state.” In other words, California courts may acknowledge the order and help enforce it, but the courts do not typically have the jurisdiction to make any modifications to the order. If you need to make modifications to an out-of-state order, the California courts may be able to grant a temporary order in certain cases, such as in the case of an order that contains a visitation schedule made by another state.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me With My Custody Order?

While it is possible for you to register an out-of-state custody order in California and file the paperwork without an attorney, you may also want to consider hiring one to assist you with the process. An attorney can ensure all forms are filled out correctly and can also assist you in case the other parent is not in agreement with the idea of transferring the custody order to California.

Your attorney can also offer invaluable guidance in the event that you require a modification to your existing order since California courts may not grant any modification requests unless certain conditions apply. For example, if the child is deemed to be in danger by being with the other parent, a California court may make decisions under an emergency provision. In other cases, an attorney may help a parent argue that the California court should have jurisdiction over the out-of-state order and should therefore be able to make modifications.

Child custody cases can be complicated, especially when involving orders issued in another state. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our family law attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of the California Family Code and can assist you with the process of transferring your custody order or settling any other type of legal situation involving divorce, separation, child custody, or support. If you need legal help or have questions, reach out to our office by calling 408-688-9153 and requesting an initial consultation to discuss your case.

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