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Child custody: Which state has jurisdiction?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2021 | Family Law

If you live in California but your spouse lives in a different state, you need to know which state has jurisdiction over child custody issues. The US has a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to help solve these disputes with ease. This legislation applies to all 50 states.

Home state

Your child’s home state influences which state gets jurisdiction on child custody issues. If your ex-partner took them out of the state before you came to an agreement on child custody, then family law might still consider your state the home state. Family law takes into consideration where a child has relationships with others, such as teachers, doctors and friends. The goal is to do what’s in the child’s best interest.

Danger of abuse or neglect

A state could make a custody decision if the child is in danger of neglect or abuse. In instances of an abandoned child, states may also step up to make a custody decision to solve the urgent matter. You must hold onto evidence that your former partner is a danger to them to back your claims.

Other scenarios

When neither state has a legal right to jurisdiction over child custody, either state could make the decision. It’s also possible for the jurisdiction state to decline to make a ruling. In this situation, it’s legal for the other state to handle the custody concern.

Also know that it’s illegal to discriminate against military parents. A parent’s military service can’t prevent them from gaining custody or maintaining custody when the military requires them to move. Federal law also protects deployed military parents from custody decisions. The court must wait until they return to handle the case.

Which state has jurisdiction isn’t always obvious. You should check the laws surrounding state jurisdiction to know of any exceptions that could apply in your situation.