– from Frances O. in Mukwonago, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I got a divorce in Michigan and the judge awarded placement and custody to me. My husband did make contact with the children for six years. During that time, my children and I moved around a bit. For the past four years, we have spent most of our time in Wisconsin.

One day, their father came for a visit. During his visit, he felt the children’s welfare was at stake. Their father then took the kids back with him to Delaware and demanded a change of custody under emergency jurisdiction. Can he do this? Is there a more convenient location to use for the hearing?

Family Law Attorney Response:

There are several factors that a court would consider in this case.

First it is important to understand, emergency jurisdiction does exist and can only be exercised when an emergency faces the children and at least one parent is present in the state that is exercising emergency jurisdiction.

When a child’s welfare is at stake, emergency jurisdiction can be exercised, however the jurisdiction can change.

In the case of Vorpahl v. Lee 99 Wis.2d 7, 298 N.W.2d 222 (Ct. App. 1980) a mother attempted to exercise emergency jurisdiction in Wisconsin, where the children had no prior contact to the state. While the court allowed emergency jurisdiction, the court switched the hearing to a more convenient forum for both the parents and the children.

Give me a call so we can discuss additional details that could be crucial for you regarding this custody case.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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