Legal Information: Puerto Rico

Custody

Updated: 
November 19, 2021

If a custody or visitation order is already in place, how can I get it changed?

Because an order for custody and visitation is determined based on the best interest of the child, normally it is not permanent. If there is an existing custody or visitation order, it is possible that the judge can amend it.1 In order to do so, you have the right to file a petition in which you explain to the judge the reasons for requesting a the change. Usually the judge will evaluate whether:

  • amending the custody and/or visitation order is in the best interest of the minor child; and
  • there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was issued.1

1 32 L.P.R.A. § 3188

If there is a custody order in place, can I take my kids out of Puerto Rico?

Generally, in most states and U.S. territories, a parent can take his/her kids out of the state or territory for a brief trip as long as there is no order prohibiting it and so long as it does not interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights. However, if you are uncertain whether a planned trip may violate your custody order, please consult with a lawyer before leaving.

If you want to permanently move off of the island (or move within the island to a distant location that would interfere with the other parent’s visitation schedule), then you may have to return to court to try to modify the order to get permission to move and to change the terms of the court order. As with any modification of a custody order, in order to get permission to move, you must prove to the judge that moving would be in the best interests of your child. As with all custody issues, it is probably best to talk to a lawyer about this matter. Please visit our PR Finding a Lawyer page.

If I move to a new state, can I transfer my child custody case there?

After a final custody order is issued, there may come a time when you and your children move to a different state. For information about how to request to transfer the custody case to a new state, please go to the Transferring a custody case to a different state section in our general Custody page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may likely first need to get permission from the court or from the other parent to move your children out of state. Please talk to a lawyer to make sure your plans to move don’t violate your custody order or your state’s parental kidnapping laws.

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