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Be proactive to avoid interstate child custody battles

When you and your spouse are going through the lengthy, costly, often-exhausting divorce process, it can be very tempting to cut corners and take the easiest way out. However, in many cases, failing to resolve issues that seem inconsequential or unnecessary at the time can come back to haunt you, and make the process much more difficult in the end.

For example, let's consider a scenario in which a couple has decided to file for divorce after having one child together. They opt for the quickest solution, and execute a simple divorce settlement that does not include a child custody schedule or the terms of child support. The couple gets along fairly well, so they don't anticipate either becoming an issue.

Fast forward several months. The child has remained with the mother in their hometown, while the father has moved 1,000 miles away and remarried. In the interest of maintaining her son's relationship with his father, the mother sends the boy to her ex-husband for the summer. The day before he is scheduled to return home, however, she receives a call from her ex, notifying her that the child will not be returning home and that the ex will be filing a custody claim in his new state.

This means that the mother will now be forced to spend countless thousands of dollars traveling to the new state for the court proceedings, placing her at a significant disadvantage in many ways.

Unfortunately, stories like these take place all of the time. In order to avoid this costly and difficult scenario, it is best to obtain a custody order from the court in all situations, whether you were married to your child's other parent or not. Without it, you could find yourself at the mercy of your ex and the courts in his or her state, facing an outcome that is decidedly not in your favor.

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

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