– from Keith N. in Greendale, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I are both in the military. We received orders to be stationed in different parts of the world. Our child lives with her. She filed for divorce and custody while over seas and was granted both. I'm back home in Wisconsin, but she remained. I want to go to court for a change of custody, but who has jurisdiction?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is not an easy situation. Unfortunately, with the lack of due process according to American standards, it is more than likely that the foreign court would have jurisdiction for this child custody case.

This is demonstrated in the case of Vause v.Vause 140 Wis. 2d 157, 409 N.W.2d 412 (Ct. App. 1987). A similar situation occurred where the father gained custody in West Germany. He came back to the states to allow his wife and her family a visitation. The mother refused to return the child, and the father filed the decree. The decree was upheld and enforced. The wife appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the decision. This is just an example, though. Your case will be decided upon by its own merits.

My advice is to consult with a family law attorney to discuss the details of your case.

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

Managing Partner

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