Spouses who are separating often want to put as much physical distance between themselves and the other spouse as possible, even moving out of state from Oklahoma.
However, there are some limitations to a spouse’s ability to do that when children are involved. Relocation can cross the line into kidnapping when parents do not act in honorable ways. Courts take the matter seriously when minor children are involved.
If you are facing a situation in which your wife has moved out of state with your children before divorce papers have been filed, you want to make sure to be proactive in your approach. You can and should file for divorce in Muskogee. Here is what you need to know.
Residency Requirements Must Be Met
In all cases, you must meet residency requirements first before you can file. That means that you must have lived within the state of Oklahoma for at least six months, and in Muskogee for at least 30 days prior to filing. The petition for divorce is filed in the district court.
Once your residency requirement is met, file as soon as possible. Waiting too long could mean that Oklahoma and Muskogee would lose jurisdiction to hear the matter, forcing you to respond to a divorce petition filed by your wife in her now current state of residence.
Oklahoma has enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA. Its purpose is to prevent conflicting child custody orders. It also prevents a parent from moving out of state just to obtain a more favorable custody ruling.
Once your wife moves out of state with your children, the “home state” clock begins ticking. The “home state” for an initial custody determination is the state where the child lived for the last six months before the divorce.
You have six months from the time she moves to file for divorce. If your wife has filed for divorce in her new home state during that six-month period, you can have her action dismissed and you can file in Oklahoma. After that six-month period of time elapses, you have to deal with the divorce in her home state.
Filing within that six-month period of time allows one more benefit: Your children can be removed from your wife’s home state and returned to you.
The sooner you file after meeting residency requirements, the smoother the process will be. Once your wife files, even if it is within the six-month period, you will have to bring a motion to have her case dismissed. And the sooner you file, the more likely that your children will be returned to you.
You will need an experienced Muskogee divorce attorney to help with this process. Bring us your questions and concerns. We are here to help when you need it most.
Confidential Consultation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering all of your options at the moment and need to know how best to handle the issues you will face, call an experienced Muskogee divorce attorney today at (918) 913-0725, or toll-free at 1 (888) 447-7262 (Wirth Law).
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