Which state handles child custody case if my ex left Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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Question Details:

My husband comes to Wisconsin twice a year to visit our children, and he stays in town. I was awarded custody several years ago by a Wisconsin court. During his last visit, he didn’t return any calls and didn’t return the children when he was supposed to. I then received a call where he stated that he took the children back to North Carolina, and he would be filing for custody there. Do I have to travel back and forth to another state for a custody battle?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is a very complicated situation, and you didn’t provide a lot of information surrounding the events. My advice would be to contact a family law attorney right away: Do not hesitate! There are many things that he/she will ask you regarding the reasons why the children were taken, such as, was abuse involved? Is there negligence involved? Alcohol or drug abuse in the home? These are the types of reasons that may prompt an emergency hearing, however, if none of these things are factors, this could be a case of abduction. There are many scenarios, and you are going to need legal representation right away.

As far as traveling to another state for the proceedings, this is unlikely because even in light of emergency jurisdiction, it still may be considered to be an inconvenient forum. You and the children live in Wisconsin, therefore, Wisconsin may be found to be the place where proceedings will be held.

Click here to learn more about temporary custody of your children.

In the case of Vorpahl v. Lee, 99 Wis. 2d 7, 298 N.W.2d 222 (Ct. App. 1980), the mother took the children to the State of Washington and filed a motion for custody. Due to the case being based on alleged abuse, emergency jurisdiction was granted. However, an err was found in the granting of the hearing to be held in Washington. It should have been held in Wisconsin, where the children and father lived.

Bottom line, seek representation as soon as you can.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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