Custody jurisdiction is governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). All states have some form of this in their statutes. Basically if the NJ orders have not been modified then NJ has continuing jurisdiction to deal with it. HOWEVER, since it appears both parents and child(ren) have left NJ then either you or your X can file papers to have the court hear the custody matter. The courts should look to where is your child's "HOME STATE", meaning - where was she living for the 6 months just before the court action was filed. If actions are filed in 2 states, then the judges from those states will talk and decide where it is best handled. If your daughter has lived in Missouri for over 6 months it may benefit you to register the NJ decree there. You should seek immediate assistance of counsel. You probably should have a CA counsel make a special appearance to contest jurisdiction. California law will apply to your child if CA has appropriate custody jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, but if not, then no, CA law would not apply to you. You should seek an attorney familiar with the UCCJEA and it's application to interstate custody disputes.
The information provided is general in nature and should not be considered as legal advice. Shannon Richards is licensed to practice only in California. No answers provided shall constitute and attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship is formed unless and until a potential client contacts the office, meets with Ms. Richards and executes a written fee agreement.
I agree with my colleagues. Get an attorney and take action. The last thing you want to have happen is do nothing, and then get hit with a bunch of legal problems. Having an attorney appear in California to communicate with the court will be money well-spent. Sometimes judges do crazy things, especially if they are not familiar with family law and are new to the bench. An attorney could help prevent nightmare scenarios, especially when it's difficult for you to be physically in court due to location.
This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. This means that I am not your lawyer and I will not appear in court simply by posting on this site. If you would like me to represent you, you must call my office, sign a written fee agreement and pay a legal fee, assuming I do not have a conflict of interest and you are in Southern California. If I respond to your question and you have follow up questions by posting on this site, I may or may not reply. This information should not be construed as legal advice. I am offering my opinion. Each person's case is unique, and that's why you should contact a lawyer over the phone for a consultation for your situation. That's why you should not rely on any response that an attorney posts on this site. I am licensed in California. I am not licensed in another state or country. I do not practice law outside of California.
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