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I Filed for Custody in Another Location--Can My Ex-Husband File for Custody?



Filing for custody when you live in a different state from your ex-husband who is also filing for custody is dependent upon the terms of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the federal law that governs interstate child custody matters.

Factors to consider regarding custody if you file in another location include:

  • Jurisdiction over child custody rests in the home state or where the child has lived for the past six months.
  • If you and your child have moved to a new state, you must establish residency for at least six months before filing for custody and requesting home-state jurisdiction.
  • If your ex-husband has already filed for custody, you may have to file in that state for custody orders.
  • If you want temporary emergency custody in your new state, your child must be present in that state and have been abandoned or in danger of abuse or mistreatment.
  • If residency is not established, jurisdiction may be determined by showing in which state the parent and child have the most significant connections.

Jurisdiction in a Different State

An issue of jurisdiction may arise if you and your child have moved to a different state, but your ex-husband remains in the state where the child was born and where you were divorced. If the child continues to visit your ex-husband on a regular basis, jurisdiction over custody matters may remain in the state where your child was born and lived before moving, regardless of how long you have lived in the new state.

Under the UCCJEA, your ex-husband can file for custody in his state of residence so long as he can establish that the child has a significant connection there with him and if your state court has declined jurisdiction because it is not a convenient forum or because there is no home state jurisdiction. Otherwise, your ex-husband must file for custody in the state or location where you and the child live. Obviously, obtaining jurisdiction in your state is to your advantage when seeking sole custody, although the court will likely order visitation rights to your ex-husband if you are unable to make satisfactory mutual arrangements.

Jurisdiction in a Different County

If you and your ex-husband reside in different counties in the same state and you want to file for custody in your county of residence, which is different from the county where the divorce or original custody orders were issued, you can make a motion in court seeking a change of venue. This success of this motion will be based on whether your county of residence is convenient for the parties and other factors such as the location of your child’s primary social, educational, and family connections.