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Question Details:

My ex gave birth to our child in Arizona, then she moved with the child to Wisconsin with her family. She moved with the child back and forth several times, claiming residence in both states. She left our daughter with her family in Wisconsin while she came back to Arizona for a while. She went to jail, and will be there for a while. Her family is filing for guardianship there in Wisconsin, but I am also filing for custody here in Arizona. I want to know from a Wisconsin attorney, which state has jurisdiction?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This can, in some cases, be a tricky situation. Being the father, in any event, you will most likely win custody over family members. This is unless it can be proven that you would be a detriment to the welfare of the child. However, to address your primary question of jurisdiction, I can refer to the case of P.C. v. C.C. (In Interest of A.E.H.) 152 Wis. 2d 182, 448 N.W.2d 662 (Ct. App. 1989) (Reversed by161 Wis. 2d 277, 468 N.W.2d 190 (1991)) as an example. In this case, the child’s aunt and uncle petitioned in Wisconsin, while the father began an action in California. Ultimately, Wisconsin reversed itself and concluded that California had jurisdiction. I would advise you, however, to seek representation before moving forward with any suit.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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