Asked in Divorce and Family Law for California

Q: My estranged husband moved back just as i was moving away, and says i can't move now.

My daughter and I live in California, but can no longer afford it. I haven't been able to pay rent, and need a place to live now. My husband left over a year ago to New York, sending pennies for child support, telling me not to file for divorce so he could still get his citizenship. Now I'm trying to move to Iowa to live with some family (to avoid being homeless), and my husband has now decided to move back to California. Apparently he could afford a lawyer (I obviously can't), and is threatening legal action if I move out of California. He doesn't want full custody of our daughter, though. Just wants to visit on the weekends. So are my daughter and I just supposed to live in our car just to stay "legal"?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Martha Bronson
Martha Bronson
  • Tracy, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If he abandoned you to go live in New York over the past year, and has no relationship with your daughter while you and your daughter have bonded, there is not much chance that the court in California is going to give him custody of your child. The court that is located in the "home state" of the child has original jurisdiction (which is the state where the child has lived in the last six months before filing any proceedings - and if the child has not lived in any state consecutively 6 months then the last state the child spent living for six month - which in your case is California) . Even if you move to Iowa, California would have original jurisdiction at least until such time as when you move to another state and have been there long enough to meet residency requirements - (IOWA) If IOWA is the only state you have to go to live, then you need to do what you need to do. IF there are no court orders prohibiting you from going then nothing would prohibit your move legally.

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