The father of my son wants to file for joint custody which I have no problem with meaning I would have primary custody and he would have summers and holidays.now the situation is we were never married and have been separated for almost 3 years and my son has lived with me the majority of the time when we broke up he moved back to georgia and I remained in northcarolina the only custody agreement we have ever had was a verbal one now her wants rights through the courts now the situation is I had became pregnant and was put on bedrest and could not work so I allowed for my son to go to his fathers for the remainder of my pregnancy due to the complications so he resided at his fathers for 6 months now he is back with me so my question is would he have to file in georgia or northcarolina I hav
E two small children and it would be very hard for me to go back and forth to georgia for court not to mention exspenses its 7 hours away so I would like to know what would happen and what my option are I also wanted to include my son has not yet been back with me for 6 months
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Unfortunately, if your son has been in Georgia for 6 months and he has not yet been back in North Carolina for 6 months, the father of the child can file for custody in Georgia. The rule for jurisdiction is that the child must have resided in that state for at least 6 months prior to the proceeding for that state to be considered the child's home state. It sounds like, from the facts that you have given, that the child's home state, at least for now, is Georgia. Which means the father can file for custody in Georgia and Georgia will have jurisdiction.
The laws regarding jurisdiction are a little complex. The simple answer is that the "right" court is the one in the state where the child lives at the time the case is filed or where the child has lived for the last six months. Situation like yours are a little more difficult. And there can be TWO states that are appropriate. It sounds like you were in NC before the break up. You have been separated for 3 years. You said he was with you most of the time in NC and only when to stay with his Father when you were on bed rest. That time could be argued to be a "temporary" absence and not make Georgia the place to decide custody. If the two of you are in agreement that the child live with you during the school year, and with him in the summer, then I feel NC is the best place to file the action and resolve the matter. And I think you have grounds to argue NC is the child's home state and Georgia was only a temporary absence. But if he is going to file, he may pick what is convenient to him. You should see a lawyer and consider taking the reins of this action to make sure it is in NC.