Legal Question in Family Law in Washington

Can the father of my child take her away from me even though he isn't on the birth certificate at this moment? I allowed my 2-year-old daughter to go spend time with him in Texas because I thought we were cool and on the same page. We signed some papers yesterday to put his name on the birth certificate and now he's trying to keep my daughter away from me. He won't respond to any of my texts on when my daughter is coming back to Washington State.

Asked on 1/14/24, 8:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Gary Preble Preble Law Firm, P.S.

You will need to file a court action to have your child returned. You should contact a family law attorney.

CRITICAL: The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been adopted in all states. It says that jurisdiction is in the home state of the child. The home state "means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding". Thus, if the child has been in TX for less than 6 months, TX is not the home state; WA is the home state (assuming the child had been in WA for 6 months before she went to TX). But if you file your court action after the child has been in TX for six months, you will have to file the case there in TX. You need to save plane tickets, emails, texts, etc.--anything that proves the date the child left WA.

If you like to read the law for yourself, the WA UCCJEA is at chapter 26.27 RCW: If you google UCCJEA there are articles that explain it on the internet. (Do not pay attention to anything about the UCCJA--it is the old law no longer in effect.)

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Answered on 1/15/24, 12:33 pm

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