Both Parties Are Entitled to Know Where Their Kids Are
Video Transcribed: What options are there when your child’s mother refuses to give you their new address? I’m Tulsa Attorney James Wirth. That’s the question that we received.
So we’ve got somebody who’s got a custody order in place. We don’t have the details on exactly what the terms are, but the mother of the child has moved to a new address, presumably taken the kids with her, and has not provided that address to the father. So what to do under the circumstances is somewhat going to be dependent on what the existing orders are. Do we have a sole custody order? Do we have a joint custody order? What visitation schedules do we have? But generally speaking, most judges are going to find that both parties are entitled to know where their kids are, which includes knowing where the other party resides.
The exception to that rule will generally be if there’s been a history of domestic violence or the court believes that it’s important to protect the mother and or child from the father in those circumstances, in which case the court may rule that you’re not entitled that, but generally speaking, you are. Now, if it’s a joint child custody order, then it’s probably pretty clear-cut that information needs to be provided, and not providing it is a violation of the joint custody order. In this case, you could file an application for a contempt citation with the court.
Now certainly before you do that, you want to make the request for the new address from the mother. Have good documentation that she’s refusing to provide before you take it to the court. Another option is if you’re continually having problems co-parenting with the other party. They’re refusing to provide this information and give you notices of maybe medical appointments or other issues that you may be entitled to. Another option is filing a motion to appoint a parenting coordinator. The parenting coordinator can help the parties communicate and help with the enforcement of orders in the case. If you have a parenting coordinator already appointed, this is definitely an issue to get to the parenting coordinator.
With a good parenting coordinator, a lot of times you can just email them, “Hey, she moved to a new address or new location. I don’t have that new address. I’d like it.” The parenting coordinator emails the other side to get their side and that parenting coordinator can make the simple type of order recommendations just from those couple emails in a very quick short period of time. The other party then has 10 days to object. If not, it becomes almost an order of the court that you file with the court that can be enforceable. So a parenting coordinator can be a quick, efficient solution to a lot of these problems if they keep recurring, but you have to have a parenting coordinator first. So, if you don’t need to file a motion to appoint a parenting coordinator.
The other option, if this is more serious, is that ultimately now this is interfering with your visitation rights and other rights-violating the court order. That makes it now in the best interest that there be a new order that provides for different terms. This could be grounds to file for a modification. So you file a motion to modify asserting that there’s been permanent material and substantial changes of circumstances that now necessitates a new custody or visitation order. Once that is on file, you can send out a discovery request getting any information that you need for your case including the location of where mom is residing. So, that is a third way that you could address that.
Now each case is different. A lot of the answer in this is going to depend on what orders are already in place or if you’re dealing with a circumstance like this video may be helpful, but it’s not legal advice and it’s not going to be completely specific to your circumstances. So do talk to an attorney.
If you want to talk to an Oklahoma child custody attorney at my office, you give that schedule by going online to makelaweasy.com.