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Crossing State Lines and Child Custody Modifications

After tough negotiation, parties usually come to some sort of child custody arrangement. The plan is implemented and the parties involved adjust to the change - that is until one parent decides to move out of state.

When this happens, the current child custody agreement must be modified. The waters are once again ruffled and the parties sit down to negotiate the new terms of the agreement.

However, if a parent wishes to move out of state, two states (and their laws) are now involved. Determining which state will have interstate jurisdiction over the case can be tricky.

Interstate jurisdiction refers to the particular state that will have authority to modify a child custody arrangement.

In some cases, another state will not dispute jurisdiction and allow Texas (or the particular state that handed down the original order) to maintain control and modify the custody agreement.

However, if interstate jurisdiction becomes an issue, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) applies. According to the UCCJA, factors revolving around the child in question will determine which state will have jurisdiction to decide the child custody case. A court will look at:

  • Where the child has resided for the past six months
  • Where the child lived prior to moving to another state
  • What relationships the child has established with individuals in each state including relatives, friends, and teachers
  • Whether the child was abandoned
  • Whether the child has moved away from a threat of danger or abuse

Source: Interstate Child Custody                                                              http://www.lawyershop.com/practice-areas/family-law/child-custody-law/interstate-custody

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