My ex-wife has sole custody of our kids, but I would like to be able to see them.
She has moved around several states and I’m not even sure how to locate her or what state would govern our court orders.
What state should I proceed with child custody litigation?
I am only licensed to practice in Kentucky, so I will be unable to provide you with specific advice to those states. Some questions that are relevant to your case are whether you have any ordered parenting time with your kids.
I know you mention that the mother has sole custody, but do you have any visitation or parenting time rights? If so, that would help.
In any case, as your ex-wife has moved through several states, the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act) will govern. This act gives “exclusive [and] continuing jurisdiction” for child custody litigation in the courts of the child’s “home state,” or the state where the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to the commencement of the proceeding.
If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months, then a court in a state that has (1) “significant connections” with the child and at least one parent and (2) “substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships” may assume child-custody jurisdiction.
If more than one state has “significant connections” and “substantial evidence”, the courts of those states must communicate and determine which state has the most significant connections to the child.
I cannot give you specific legal advice as I am not familiar with the facts of your case. For a more in-depth answer, please consult a family law attorney in your jurisdiction.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To arrange an initial consultation with Janet Yu Johnston, an Associate Attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.