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Legal Information: Kansas


November 15, 2023

Can I file for custody in Kansas?

You would usually file for custody in the “home state” of the child. Generally, Kansas would qualify as your child’s “home state” if the child has lived in Kansas with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least the past six months. If your child is less than six months old, then your child’s home state is the state where s/he has lived since birth. Leaving the state for a short period of time does not change your child’s home state.

You may also start a custody case in a Kansas court if Kansas was your child’s “home state” in the six months before going to court and at least one parent or a “person acting as a parent” still lives in Kansas even if your child does not.1

There are exceptions to the “home state” rule though. In some cases, you can file for custody in a state where the children and at least one parent have “significant connections.” Usually, however, you can only do this if there is no home state or if the home state has agreed to let another state hear the case.2 This can be complicated, and if you think this applies to your situation, please talk to a lawyer in both states about this. For a list of legal resources, please see our KS Places that Help page.

You can also file for temporary emergency custody in a state other than the home state if:

  • the child is present in the state; and
  • the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, a sibling, or a parent of the child is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.3

1 Kan. Stat. § 23-37,201(a)(1)
2 See Kan. Stat. § 23-37,201
3 Kan. Stat. § 23-37,204(a)