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Obtaining custody of your child is a complicated affair. The timing, route, and cost of the proceeding depends heavily on the fact surrounding your case, where you child is located, and the laws of the state where you are bringing the legal action. Nevertheless, with some basic information and the help of an attorney, you can obtain custody of your child.
3 Child Custody Factors:
- Actions by required parties.
- Litigation costs.
The first factor that you must consider in a child custody action is the location of yourself, your child, and your spouse.
The action can only be brought in a state where the court has jurisdiction. In general, the home state is the priority location for any proceedings. The home state is where the child has lived since birth or where the child has lived for six consecutive months prior to commencing the action. This means that if your child has been recently removed to another state, you may still have jurisdiction in your own state. If the court cannot get jurisdiction based on home state, then it will look for a state which the child has significant connection. If the child has been abandoned or is facing an abusive situation, the court does have emergency authority to take up custody actions.
The second factor that you must consider in a child custody action is any required parties.
There is a duty to inform the court of any person the child has lived with during the previous five years and of any other litigation concerning the child. Any parent whose parental rights have not been terminated, any person in physical custody of the child, or anyone contesting custody must be given notice of the custody proceedings. Without following the proper notice procedures, any custody decrees that are made by the court may not be enforceable by other states.
The third factor you must consider are the costs of the litigation.
If you are suing for custody outside of your state, you will likely be required to travel there a number of times. If you are suing in your home state, if may be required to bring in the parties from out-of-state. The law encourages courts to award fees and expenses if the child was wrongfully removed or whenever the court deems it appropriate. It also encourages courts to order the losing party to pay for reasonable expenses such as costs of travel, witnesses, communication, attorneys, and child care during the course of the proceedings.
After considering these three factors, a family law attorney can give you advice on the best way to proceed. Not every action or state is the same, so it is important to find someone who has experience fighting for your rights in multiple jurisdictions and in complicated cases.