If custody is filed in two states, will a WI court have jurisdiction? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Sandra H. in West West Allis, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I separated several months ago. He moved to Oregon, where we were originally married. We have lived (and my son and I still live) in Wisconsin for the last six years. I have filed for divorce and custody here in Wisconsin, but I have now learned that he filed for divorce and custody in Oregon. Do I have to go to Oregon now? Or does he have to come to Wisconsin? Who has jurisdiction?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This would depend on several factors. Choice of forum and whether or not a forum is inconvenient would depend on where the child has lived the longest, where the child lives now, and where the parties lived during the marriage. For example: If you and your family lived in Wisconsin, but due to the separation your husband now lives in Oregon, more than likely the most convenient forum would be Wisconsin. Especially if the child currently lives with you in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin judge may communicate with the judge in Oregon to have the case deferred to Wisconsin, which would be the choice forum for this child custody case.

In the case of Colby v. Colby, 102 Wis. 2d 198, 306 N.W.2d 57 (1981), a similar situation occurred where the father started a case in Arizona. The case was ultimately dismissed in Arizona.

Learn how to bounce back from bad days of divorce here.

Contact a family law attorney right away, if you have not already. They will be able to provide you with a clear picture of the legalities involved, and what the best course of action would be.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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