Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Laws Help Parents With Children in Different States

Divorced parents whose children live in different states or who face the relocation of one of their children should be aware of several important nationwide child custody laws that apply to their situation. The aim of these laws is standardize child custody rules amongst states, so that parents cannot gain unfair advantages by shuffling children between states and obtaining different rulings in different courts.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) (adopted by all states except Massachusetts, which has its own version) has a series of guidelines that determine which state has jurisdiction over a child custody order. For example, once a state has made an initial child custody determination, that state maintains jurisdiction over the child unless one of two situations occurs:

  • A court in the original jurisdiction no longer has significant connections with the child or his or her parents
  • A court in any state determines that that the child and both parents no longer reside in the state that had original jurisdiction

Another important law is the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. This Act prohibits other states from modifying a child custody order from another state unless they comply with certain requirements. Additionally, the Act requires law enforcement to act if a non-custodial parent unlawfully refuses to return a child to the parent with custody. With over 200,000 parental kidnapping cases a year, this is an important provision for custodial parents and their children.

Have you had deal with child custody across state lines? What advice would you give to other parents going through the same situation?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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