Moved out of State 1 month ago - custody?


My wife got a job offer in California earning 4X the salary I was earning after being laid off in Jan. I hoped this would be a good move for us, but it has gone south fast.

Who will preside over a separation agreement/custody? My understanding is we need to be in CA for 6 months before CA can preside? Will I need to return to NC to file custody - and then do it again in CA after 6 months?

Also: we agreed that I should quit my job and move us and our belongings to CA. I’m currently unemployed and because I covered all of the moving costs, I’m also totally broke and facing bankruptcy. It’s getting ugly people . . . and I don’t know what to do. My wife is miserable, and angry at me - basically over not earning enough to support a more plush lifestyle. I have always held a job, was laid off in Jan which started the downward spiral. My wife hasn’t worked for 5 years, but has a high earning potential and currently earns over 125K.

My fear is that she will force me to leave, I will become basically homeless, and then she will argue that I am unfit parent and try to take full custody and controll my relationship with my son. I am scrambling to find a job and housing quick . . .

What are my options to protect my son from her taking him from me? I have done absolutely nothing wrong and just want my fair (50%) joint custody. I am willing to live and find work in the same town, I just want to raise my son with values stronger than judging people by dollar signs.

Thank you for your help.


Separation Agreements are not presided over, they are contracts in which two parties agree to the terms of their separation (ie: equitable distribution, alimony child custody, and child support).

If you wish to move to CA, you must have a Separation Agreement outlining custody ,or a court order allowing the children to go with you. If you are living in NC now, NC is the home state of the children and the proper forum for a custody determination.

Your wife cannot force you out of the home unless you have engaged in misconduct such as abuse or adultery.


We have moved out of our NC house, have rented it to someone else. We are in CA, but only have been for 1 month and have not moved into a house here. (staying with friends).

Regarding child custody, when do (can) CA rules go into effect, or more importantly when to NC rules no longer have jurisdiction?

We are to move into a rental here this friday. If my wife excludes me from being able to move in (she would not let me be on the rental agreement for some reason) I may be forced to return to NC.

If I were to return to NC, which court should handle the custody agreement (or disagreement as teh case may be . . .)


If both parents are in CA with the children, and no dispute has yet arisen Ca will likely be the home state as there is no connection left in NC. If you return to NC the court will have jurisdiction to decide whether to relinquish jurisdiction to California, which I think is the likely outcome as the children will be living there, going to school there, ect.