What You Need to Know about Interstate Child Custody in Texas

Living in different states presents unique challenges for both the custodial and the non-custodial parent. A family law attorney will take these considerations into account in order to reach a fair arrangement and can also help with post-judgment modifications in the event of a relocation. At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt, we have helped families reach manageable solutions since 1986. Our interstate child custody attorney in Arlington, TX, has been board-certified since 1991 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and provides a stress-free atmosphere for families.

A father hugging his daughter.

What Is Interstate Child Custody?

Sometimes children are born to unmarried parents, who do not share the same state of residence. In other cases, a parent may want to move out of state after a divorce, and will want to know how living across the state line will impact custody rights. In order for the court to make determinations about custody and other important issues regarding the children, special laws have to be applied. The first step of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is to establish which state has jurisdiction over the matter.

At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt, we have helped families reach manageable solutions since 1986.

If the parents lived in the same state when the divorce or initial custody action was filed, that state will continue to exercise jurisdiction over the case and has the authority to enter orders regarding custody. If the parents did not reside in the same state when the case was filed, preliminary legal questions such as which state is the home state of the child must be answered before a determination is made.

How To Determine a Child’s Home State

When making a finding as to which state is a child’s home state, the court will consider factors such as:

  • Where the child lived six months prior to the initiation of the action.
  • Which state the child has significant contacts in, through family or other personal connections to one state over another.
  • Whether one state offers certain safety measures, which can come into play in abusive situations.

The court will look at whether there is any state that can satisfy the above requirements, and if so, will find that state to be the home state for purposes of hearing the custody and/or visitation issues.

Interstate Child Custody Issues To Consider

Sometimes the reasons for a move to another state are personal or for work. But there are other issues to consider when an interstate child custody matter arises. For example:

  • Does the new state of residence need to take notice of the custody order? If so, you may need to file an action in that state and file your current custody order, putting the court on notice of the terms so if questions arise the court will have the information needed to make decisions.
  • Has your child been taken out of the state without permission? If so, you may want to talk to an attorney about a parental kidnapping action.
  • Will the current visitation schedule still work? If not, you will want to seek modification of the existing arrangement.

A family law attorney can help you answer these questions while keeping the best interest of your children in mind.

Where To Turn for Help

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt knows how stressful it can be to become involved in child custody and visitation issues. We have been practicing for over 30 years and are qualified to help answer your questions and take on your case. Call our office at 817-572-9900 or contact us online.

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Arlington, TX 76016

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