I often get questions, from all over the country, that can be helpful for people who are looking for quick answers and if they should be seeking legal advice. Always consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction for specific advice:
My wife left our state for a supposed vacation recently. When I arrived to join her on vacation, she told me she would not be moving back home and that she wanted a divorce.
Blindsided! We have not yet filed for divorce, but I want to know what rights I have? I do not want my child to be 3,000 miles away and have to go live across the country in the mother’s new state
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
You should immediately consult an attorney in your jurisdiction as the jurisdiction clock is running against you and the more time that you allow to pass, the closer that other state gets to assuming jurisdiction over the issues in your case.
Most states have a residency requirement in order to file for divorce. The timing of this residency requirement varies by state, but usually it is about 180 days. This is the time frame for establishing jurisdiction to get a divorce entered.
When we are talking about children, jurisdiction is usually established by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act that nearly every state has adopted as its own law.
The jurisdiction requirement under that act is that the home state of the child will control jurisdiction. The home state of the child is usually defined as where the child has resided for the past six months. For every day you delay, your wife’s new state may be getting closer to assuming jurisdiction over that issue of the case.