Does subject matter jurisdiction switch if custody switches? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Benjamin K. in New Berlin, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I were granted a divorce in Wisconsin in 2010. She was originally granted child custody as well. I moved to Kansas. Currently, custody is in the process of being switched. Does the original circuit court in Wisconsin still have jurisdiction?

Family Law Attorney Response:

I need more details for your specific case, but generally subject-matter jurisdiction does not change if the custody changes.

In Louisiana ex rel. Eaton v. Leis, 120 Wis.2d 271, 354 N.W.2d 209 (Ct. App. 1984) a mother and father had their custody powers swapped and the mother now looked for child support. The circuit court initially said the case could not be filed, as there was no more subject matter jurisdiction (since originally the father had custody). However the court of appeals reversed the circuit court and ruled that subject matter jurisdiction is vested by the constitution in the courts of the State of Wisconsin. No circuit court is without subject matter jurisdiction to entertain actions of any nature.

Subject matter jurisdiction can change for other reasons. Give me a call so we can go over the details of your case.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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