Steve Nash of the Los Angeles Lakers, and his ex-wife Alejandra, have been racking up a lot of court (of law) time recently in their dispute over child custody for their children. The most recent legal battle is over allowing Alejandra to move with their three children from Phoenix, where they live currently, to Los Angeles. Like in Pennsylvania, when children are subject to a custody order, a Court must approve any relocation by the children out of the County if any of the parties with custody rights do not consent. In Pennsylvania, this decision is governed by a best interest of the child standard, taking into account things like the reasons behind the move, where extended family lives, employment opportunities, and schools and homes.
Nash is fighting the relocation. He says that he can see the children just as easily in Arizona (in spite of the fact that he plays in Los Angeles) and also says that he refuses to raise his children in the Los Angeles lifestyle. Alejandra allegedly has another reason for wanting to move.
If the children relocate then the California court in their new county will have jurisdiction to rule on child custody and child support. (This is assuming that the Court in Arizona relinquishes jurisdiction, but they likely would if no party continued to live there.) This could have potentially large effects on the case because the Arizona Court was unwilling to award child support, but the Courts in California are generally much more willing to award child support.
The outcome of the decision of the Court on whether or not they can move could have a huge financial impact on the parties, which is why they are both fighting so hard. Jurisdictional choice is a huge issue in family law, which is state-based, and different states have different laws, as well as different preferences. This can vary by state, but it can also vary by county, meaning that even if you and your spouse live in the same state, you may still decide to file in the county where they live, as opposed to where you live.
Jurisdictional issues can play a huge role in the outcome of family law cases. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today to discuss your custody or support case.