Where can I file for child custody? Which state has jurisdiction?
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), you can only file for custody in the “home state” of the child unless you meet one of the exceptions explained in Are there any exceptions to the home state rule? The child’s “home state” is the state where your child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for the past six consecutive months. If your child is under six months old, then your child’s home state is where s/he has lived since birth. Leaving the state for a short period of time does not change your child’s home state.
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 where your child has most recently lived for at least six months.