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CA-does it matter who files first?

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I am in CA. I filed for divorce with joint custody and my husband was mailed the papers. He has refused to sign them stating that I filed them in the wrong court (i recently moved to a new county and filed there through a paralegal) He is getting advice from the Father's Rights advocacy. now i will have to pay again to file in another county. does it matter who files first? And if he files for primary custody, does that make it so? Do I have to hire an attorney to fight for custody if that is the case? I was willing to share custody of our 15 month old son, but would a judge allow a small child to be placed in the fathers custody? I have a good job and am a fit parent with two other teenage children. What should I do?



The county in which you (and the child in question) have been a resident for the last 6 months has jurisdiction over the proceedings. If you have filed in the wrong county, you will need to re-file in the right one, unless you have now lived in the new county for 6 months, in which case I think you still need to re-file in the same county.

If he is working through a father's rights group, he is likely going to snag you on any technicality that he is able. Be extremely careful.

If he files for primary custody, he must show why you shouldn't be able to get at least joint custody. If there is anything "bad" about you or your parenting, he could try to show that you are unfit. The fact that the child is young and that you have 2 teenage children is irrelevant. (Unless the teens are his too, and he is only seeking custody of the "baby") He is just as capable of caring for a 15-month-old child as you are, and the fact that you are seeking joint custody supports that.

However, the fact that you are seeking joint custody also shows that you are trying to work with the father, and wish for him to maintain a relationship with the child. The court is generally supportive of a parent that will be cooperative with the other.

Good Luck!

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