Can my ex-boyfriend take my child from me if he filed custody papers first?

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2012

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Can my ex-boyfriend take my child from me if he filed custody papers first?

I am a mother who moved out of state with my child due to an abusive relationship I had with him. We were not married and no one has legal custody over the child. The father just filed for custody. Will he be able to get the child from me since he filed first during the child custody case? I have file a PFA (protection from abuse) in the state I am now living with my child. He is not allowed around me or the child for a year.

Asked on August 28, 2012 under Family Law, Kansas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Just because he has filed first in his state doesn't not mean that he will get custody.  The standard for who gets custody is always what is in the best interest of the child. However, if you are served and do not respond to the lawsuit, then a default judgment could be entered against you... so make sure that if you are served, you file at least a basic answer.  It sounds like you already have some preliminary orders in place regarding your child and visitation.  With that in mind, you may contact a family law attorney or family law non-profit legal services organization about filing an answer for you and getting the case transferred to where you are at on the basis of where the child resides and the fact that orders are already in place regarding access to the child.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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