Life after a divorce, when you have children, can have some complications. There are several reasons why you may decide to move to a new state after the divorce has been finalized. It may be because of work or just wanting a fresh start. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to understand how jurisdiction will work when it comes to child custody, as each state may have differing laws. Luckily, guidelines are set to help make it easier to address these questions on a federal level. The Federal Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act was created to help ensure that all states consistently handle these cases and prevent conflicting and even more confusing orders. Our Texas military custody attorneys are here to help.

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What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a federal law that was implemented in 1997 to assist parents when it comes to child custody orders. As each state is able to make state laws that pertain to the residents of the state, it can be confusing when one parent moves to another state. However, transferring child jurisdiction from state to state doesn’t have to be complex. The UCCJEA makes it so that only one state has jurisdiction over child custody and enforcement issues. This action helps to reduce the confusion because it eliminates the possibility of competing court orders between the different states the parents reside. This Act has been adopted in almost all states, with only Massachusetts being the lone hold-out. These cases can get complicated which is why it is a good idea to contact an experienced Texas child custody lawyer near you soon.

Filing an Inconvenient Forum Motion

When you’ve legally moved to another state, being able to handle any child custody issues closer to your new home can make life easier for you. In order to transfer custody, you can have a custody lawyer in the state that’s currently your home state file a motion for an inconvenient forum where they will petition the state to transfer your case to the new state you’ll be residing in. Basically, you’re telling the court it is more convenient for the custody to be moved closer in case there are modifications necessary to the child support order. For instance, if neither of the parents will live in the original state where the child custody decree was created, the judge may determine that it’s better to transfer the case to the state where the child will be residing.

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Establishing Home State Jurisdiction

The custodial parent will need to establish home state jurisdiction for their child to have that particular state’s courts rule on their custody agreement. Some criterion determines which state will be considered the home state for the custody decree, typically based on the length of time the child has resided in the state. So, a child that has lived in a state for at least six months or longer can have that state considered their home state. However, if that is not the case, the state where the custody agreement was put into place would more than likely be the home state for jurisdiction and enforcement of the orders.

Home State Jurisdiction Examples

You’ve gotten a divorce and have custody of your child. You’ve gotten the legal go-ahead to move to Texas from another state after you received a new job offer in the area. For the first six months, the state you moved from is often considered the home state jurisdiction for your child custody arrangement unless you’ve already had your attorney file a motion to move the jurisdiction. If you were to need the custody order modified, you would have to get a family law lawyer located in that state to assist you with the modification through that state’s courts. The state of Texas would not be able to modify it at that point because it’s not the home state. However, once six months have passed, you would have a much better chance of being able to have a Texas family law attorney help you modify your child custody agreement in the state of Texas. If you are still confused, read our guide on how child support works in Austin.

Jurisdictional Problems

There can be some disagreements regarding jurisdiction and child custody agreements. The courts have to determine which state is a better match for the child based on the reason behind the modification. For instance, if you’re only looking to increase or decrease child support payments, the original state may keep jurisdiction. In contrast, if it has to do with something time sensitive, such as medical care, it may be determined that the new state should be allowed to become the jurisdictional home state.

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Emergency Order

Sometimes, a state that’s not considered the home jurisdiction state can issue a temporary emergency custody order. Typically, this happens if the child is deemed to be in danger, and the court needs to act swiftly to provide immediate protection. Once the emergency order is issued, the court will determine if there is a custody order elsewhere and allow the parties to return to the jurisdictional state in a reasonable amount of time. An emergency order may be granted if there is a threat of parental kidnapping as well. Contact our Texas child custody lawyer to help you with your situation.

Do I Need a Texas Family Law Attorney For Transferring Child Jurisdiction?

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Family law can be a complicated and emotional legal matter. Passions can fly when both parents feel that they are doing what’s best for their children. When you move to Texas from another state, it’s often a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney to learn about your rights and what you need to do once you’ve moved to the new state. In addition, establishing a relationship with an attorney now can help you in the long run if you end up having issues with your existing child custody agreement.
When you’re interested in transferring child jurisdiction to Texas and wish to speak with an experienced family law attorney, the legal team at Eric M. Willie P.C. can help. Our compassionate legal team can help advise you on the best steps to take when you’re looking to transfer the jurisdiction of your child custody agreement. Contact us today to learn more about how transferring child custody to a new state works and what you need to do to be prepared.




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