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Court Rules on Louisiana Visitation Issue


In a case that affects two States, Sharon and Edward Heartfield were part of this not so uncommon situation. The two were divorced by the District Court of Jefferson County, Texas. Sharon was the one awarded custody of the children. Edward got visitation rights and was ordered to pay 2,025 per month for child support. Once the divorce was finalized, Sharon together with the three children moved to Louisiana and has lived there for about four years.

Three years after moving to Louisiana, Sharon filed a case with the District Court of Jefferson County, Texas to request for the modification of the child support. Edward responded with a cross-action where he asked for more visitation times, reduced amount of child support and to have the case transferred to Hardin County, Texas. The case was transferred to Hardin County, Texas as per request.

After this, Sharon asked the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish, Louisiana to issue a decision that says that the original order by the court for visitation and child support be executed. She filed a motion in the Hardin County court as well, to have them dismiss the action or move it to Orleans Parish. This was denied by the courts of Hardin County and about a month later after a hearing, they issued a modified decision. The new decision reduced the child-support payments to $1,800 per month. The court said this is also dependent on specific visitation rights. A month later, Edward filed affidavits saying that visitation was being denied so he did not pay the child support. This is when he filed for a temporary injunction order to stop Sharon from her claims in the Louisiana Court. He filed it with the States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division. Sharon dropped her case connected to the child support but said that the visitation schedule threatened the well-being of her children. The injunction was granted by the Louisiana court.

The Court of Appeals said that this was an error as the Louisiana Court did not have jurisdiction over the case, and that it had abused its discretion in granting the injunction. They said that jurisdiction is continued from Texas so it is kept in Texas. The injunction should not have been granted as the Louisiana Courts has not violated any decision that was made by the Texas Courts. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision according to a New York Family Lawyer.

Cases that involved two or more States, especially with child visitation and child support are a little more complicated. In any State, the first priority is still the welfare of the child. The determination normally goes with the State that issued the initial decision, so there is no conflict.

If you are filing for divorce, or have a custody, visitation issue, or need an order for protection, be sure to contact legal counsel promptly. It is important to ensure that your rights, and the rights of you child are protected.

Stephen Bilkis and Associates have experienced an experienced legal team who can give you the options for the protection of your rights and the rights of your children. We are at Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan, in New York. In Long Island, our offices are at Suffolk County and Nassau County, as well as in Westchester County. For legal guidance and a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW.

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