Q: How do I handle custody if we are separated and he is in another state?
My husband left me for another woman and told me to fly back to Pa to live with my family or I would not have a home anymore (he was kicking me out) so I did. He then moved to another state with the same woman and now I’m trying to figure out how custody will most likely be handled after the divorce is final. Will I be able to keep sole custody and somehow still give him visitation so that he can still be a part of our daughters life without much complication?
A: Initially, who has the child now? Wherever the child has resided for the past 6 months, THAT'S the state that has jurisdiction over child custody matters. If your daughter is with you in Pennsylvania, but it hasn't been 6 months here yet, but the child WAS previously in your former state for at least a 6 month period prior to your move, then your former state has jurisdiction. If your daughter is with you in Pennsylvania and you haven't been here for at least 6 months yet, I suggest waiting until at least 6 months have passed and then you can litigate any child custody issues here in Pennsylvania. That's much more convenient for YOU.
Now, when parents live in different states, custody can take on various forms depending on the age of the child and the distance between the parents (as well as other factors). If two different states -- but you each are just over the state line, like only 15 minutes away from each other -- then the interstate reality doesn't much affect the ability of the noncustodial parent to see the child. If the child is not of school-age yet, then it's also much easier to have a longer visitation period for the noncustodial parent because weekly school attendance isn't yet an issue.
The upshot, however, is that you should sit down with an experienced family law attorney and discuss your situation. All custody cases are extremely fact-sensitive, and no two situations are alike. Talk to someone, and then hire them -- it will be worth it in both the short- and long-term for both you and your daughter. Best of luck to you.
Mr. Ryan L Hyde agrees with this answer
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