HomeWorking MothersIn the state of Kentucky, can moving out of state cause a parent to be deemed “unfit” and cost them custody?
Posted in Working Mothers on 26th April 2014

In the state of Kentucky, can moving out of state cause a parent to be deemed “unfit” and cost them custody?
Of course, I’m asking for informal advice here but any information or links to the specific laws would be helpful. Also, don’t tell me to go ask a lawyer because the circumstances make that approach impractical.

Someone I know is 15. Let’s call her Jane (obviously not the real name). Jane lives in Kentucky with her mom, who is divorced from an abusive father who raped her at a young age and got away scot-free because he’s friends with the local law enforcement. Jane never wants to see her father again and is unhappy with where she lives. She and her mom are considering moving out-of-state to any northern state on the eastern seaboard, depending on her mother’s capability to find employment in any given area.

Jane’s only concern is the perceived threat of her father’s capability to take the case to court in an attempt to have her mother found “unfit” based on the move. He has made several attempts to do so before on different accusations, unsuccessfully.

If Jane is close to age 16 (when her opinion carries more weight to the legal system) and fully endorses moving, as does her mother, can her father really find any grounds to prevent it and even gain custody of her? Why or why not?
@going_for_baroque: I much appreciate that very helpful response! I don’t have answers to some of the info you said I didn’t include because I’m asking for a friend who shared this issue with me.

Best answer(s):

Answer by candycane
Your best thing to do is to speak with an attorney. Sometimes they can advise you at no cost.

Answer by going_for_baroque
You type long, complex sentences, but you don’t provide enough relevant info. Is there an existing court order for child support and custody? If there is any court order, the gal’s mom will need to file a motion so she can take the child out of the jurisdiction. Normally, this isn’t too much of a problem, but is a legal base everyone has to touch.

I’d guess that merely moving out of state doesn’t render the mother “unfit.” And even if a lawyer is impractical, an attorney is essential in getting some success in family court.

The gal is at an age where a family court will listen to her. Hard to give much credence to allegations of rape- if the father got charged and was acquitted, that’s all that anyone can go by. Rape doesn’t seem to be an issue, just a lever to extract sympathy. The real issue is moving out of the jurisdiction under the current court order. Without knowing more, that doesn’t seem impossible, but will require an attorney’s help in filing a motion.

OTOH, if there is no court order, then the mother can take her daughter anywhere without worry. It’ll be up to the father to dispute the movement.

Previous attempts to find the mother “unfit” will work in her favor. A good attorney could have made the father pay court costs, but that’s not really what the issue is here.

If there’s an existing custody order (every other weekend; supervised visitation) then the family court may want to be sure that allowing the child to move away will be beneficial for the child. You can come up with reasons why this should seem apparent to everyone, but the bottom line is that your rhetoric has to fall on family court ears, which have heard most stories already. … good luck!!

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