Imagine that you are a new mom and you just broke up with your baby’s father. You aren’t from Arizona and you don’t have any support outside of your friends. The best option for you and your baby is to move back home to be near your parents and family members. You research AZ child custody laws and learn that single mothers have sole legal decision-making and sole primary custody of children unless the father files a Petition to Establish Paternity, Parenting time and Child Support. The father has done none of this so you decide to move. Three months later you receive an Arizona Court Order demanding that the baby returned back to Arizona.
Can this really happen? Yes. Even if a mother lawfully leaves the state with her child, she can be ordered to return the baby to Arizona. If the Father files a Petition to Establish and asks the court to return the baby to the state of Arizona, the court will often force the mother to move back with the child. This can be difficult and expensive for everyone involved.
How can you avoid this nightmare scenario? Relationship Insurance. No there’s not really any such thing. (wouldn’t it be nice) But you can take some precautions early on to help avoid trouble down the road. If you aren’t married and are a parent or a soon-to-be parent, you should consider making a written agreement while you are getting along. You can make an agreement so that you know what to do if you find yourself separated with a baby. Don’t wait until all hell breaks loose, get that agreement while you are both secure and happy with each other, before there is any drama. Hopefully you never need that agreement. But having it will give you the peace of mind knowing that you and your baby will be protected. Think of it like an insurance policy, you hope you do not need to use it, but if you do, you will be glad it’s there.