If an unmarried couple splits and they have an infant child, who gets custody?

Asked over 2 years ago - 28302

the child has lived with each parent. The parents resides in different state. One parent filed custody in that parent's state, however, the other parent is with the child at the time of filing and in that parent's state. The child has lived with each parent an equal amount of time. No abuse of any kind is involved in this case just to make things clear. One parent lives in section eight housing, receiving gov't assistance financially. The other with the parents' owned home, pro-active with the child, sends financial help to the other parent.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. John Howard Crouch

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I have had to deal with this question before - which state has jurisdiction if the child truly spends equal amounts of time with each parent, not just when looking at the past history, and in an ongoing pattern?

    If the child lived in one state for the six months before the parents separated, and that separation was less than six months before the court case was filed, that state is the "home state" and would have jurisdiction.

    But if there is no "home state" fitting the above description, the next thing the courts look at is whether the child has "significant connections" with the state. If there are about equal connections with both states, then the state where the case was filed first is probably going to keep the case.

    By the way, when you talk about the merits of who should have custody, you talk about economic things a lot. If you're trying to win or break even in a custody case, those are not what you should emphasize. Yes, it is important not to have economically abandoned your child. But earning more money or being generally financially better off is generally not something the courts will use as a reason to favor you in a custody case.

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