Can I file for custody in Kansas?
Generally, you can file for custody in the "home state" of the child. (There are exceptions to the "home state" rule, which are explained in the next section). 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.1
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
If you and your child recently moved to a new state, generally you cannot file for custody in that new state until you have lived there for at least six months. Until then, you or the other parent can start a custody action in the state you just left (where your child most recently lived for at least six months).1 However, there are exceptions, which are explained in the next section.
Here are some examples:
- My children lived in Alabama their whole lives. We just moved to Kansas a few weeks ago. In my case, Alabama is my child’s “home state.” If I want to file for custody right now, I will probably need to file in Alabama.
- My children lived in Alabama until we moved to Kansas 6 months ago. Because the children have lived in Kansas for 6 months, Kansas is their “home state.” I will likely need to file for custody in Kansas.
- My children lived in Kansas until they left to live with their father in Alabama 2 months ago. Because they haven’t lived in Alabama for 6 months yet, their home state is still Kansas. If I want to file for custody, I can mostly likely file in Kansas.
1 K.S.A. § 38-1348(a)(1)