June 18, 2003
MOVING OUT OF STATE IN VIOLATION OF CHILD CUSTODY ORDER
By: Susan Price-Livingston, Associate Attorney
You asked what recourse Connecticut fathers have when their former partner violates a court's order and moves out of state with their children. You also wanted to know about fathers' rights coalitions that might be of assistance to a constituent in this situation. The Office of Legislative Research cannot give legal advice and this report should not be considered as such.
Depending on the circumstances, a mother who relocates with a child in violation of a Connecticut court order could be held in civil contempt or prosecuted for parental kidnapping or custodial interference. The father can file a motion for contempt in family court and the court will hold a hearing to resolve the dispute. If the court orders the child returned to Connecticut, its order should be given legal effect by courts in all other states.
The father can also contact the state police, a state's or U.S. attorney or the state's Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) for assistance in locating the missing child. Although they cannot share information directly with the parent, these entities are authorized to search national data bases, including the Federal Parental Locator Service (FPLS), to assist in locating children in these situations. The FPLS includes information from records kept by banks and the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, and National Directory of New Hires.
Diane Fray, head of the BCSE, reports that the state charges $20 for this service ($24 if the absent parent's Social Security number is not known.) She has never received a request for this service.
We are not aware of any fathers' rights coalitions in Connecticut. National organizations which may be of assistance are the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com) and the National Fatherhood Initiative (http://www.fatherhood.org/). The latter organization has an active affiliate group in Texas, the state your constituent specifically asked about (http://www.volunteersolutions.org/austin/volunteer/agency/one_165920.html).