Custody Dispute in Scarlett Johansen’s Divorce

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP

In an example of life imitating art, Scarlett Johannsen has found herself in the middle of a civil war. The Captain America: Civil War star has been embroiled in a now public child custody dispute with her estranged husband, Romain Dauriac.  The two celebrities were negotiating a settlement behind closed doors. However, since filing for divorce in New York on March 7, Johannsen’s custody battle over her 2 year old daughter has become very public. Many speculate Johannsen’s divorce filing was a preemptive strike by by her legal team to ensure that New York had jurisdiction over the child custody and potential relocation dispute. Dauriac has stated that he intends to move back to Paris with the couple’s daughter if awarded he is awarded custody.

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”), the court of jurisdiction is wherever the child has resided for the previous six months. In most states, including Pennsylvania, the custodial parent is unable to simply pick up and move a minor away from the noncustodial parent without the consent of the noncustodial parent or an order from the court. Under Pennsylvania law, a parent who intends to move away must give written notice by certified mail at least 60 days in advance (or 10 days if it is an emergency and the move cannot be delayed). The written notice must provide specific details about the move, including the new address, phone number(s), name of the new school, date of the move, reason for the move and a proposed custody schedule for the non-moving parent. The non-moving parent has 30 days to file a written objection which will trigger an expedited hearing in the Court.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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