Can I get sole child custody from a different state? 3 Answers as of June 01, 2011

We currently have 50/50 custody where our child lives with one of us for 6 months and the other for 6 months. I feel our child's needs are better met by me and I would like to file for sole custody but we live in different states.

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Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Your question is not clear whether you want sole "legal" custody, sole "physical" custody, or both? I'm guessing you mean physical custody. You can file a motion with the court requesting sole custody, either physical, legal, or both. However, asking and receiving are two different things. Assuming the current joint legal and physical custody order was made after a judicial determination of your child's "best interests," as part of your custody modification request, you would have to demonstrate "changed circumstances," such that your child would now be better off if father loses joint custody (either physical or legal, depending on what you want). With that said, changing custody when it is not legally warranted is highly unlikely. You've stated no facts in your question regarding any changed circumstances, nor why your child's interests are detrimentally served by father retaining joint physical or legal custody. You've merely stated your subjective conclusion that you "feel [your] child's needs are better met by [you]." Perhaps there are valid reasons to warrant a judge taking away father's custodial rights. Yet, as a friendly FYI, that is a tough road to hoe. Because you've not stated any facts to warrant a change of custody, no intelligent lawyer can properly opine as to whether you can "get sole child custody." I'd suggest you sit down with an experienced family law lawyer to discuss the particular facts of your case, so he/she can analyze whether circumstances warrant any change of custody. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
A modification motion should be filed in the state where the order was established (unless no one lives there anymore). If you are in my area and need an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
It wouldn't hurt to try, but you may inflame the other parent by doing so. The UCCJEA [Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act] permits a party to sue for child custody in the state where the child continuously resided for the prior six months, so in order to qualify (if at all), you would likely need to wait to file and serve your custody action at/about the end of your six month custodial period.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
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