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Who has jurisdiction if your ex moves out of state?

When you and your spouse choose to divorce, the possibility exists that he or she could choose to move away from San Antonio or even leave Texas altogether. His or her relocation could have a dramatic impact on your divorce proceedings, particularly if there are child custody issues to consider. You may then wonder which state has jurisdiction in your case.

According to the Texas Family Code, if your children are still living in Texas on the day that your child custody proceedings commence, then the state retains the jurisdiction to make an initial ruling on the matter. If they did relocate with your ex yet your case begins within six months of the move, and you still live in the state, then the case would still go to a Texas court.

Even if it is shown that another state should have jurisdiction, you may still be able to have your child custody case heard here in Texas. For this to happen, either of the following scenarios would need to occur:

  •          The state holding jurisdiction waives its right based on you and your children having a significant connection to Texas other than simply living here, and it is shown that Texas authorities already have accumulated substantial evidence related to the children’s well-being.
  •          The state holding jurisdiction waives it right based on its determination that Texas is the more appropriate forum to render a fair decision determining custody.
  •          The state holding jurisdiction waives its right based on improper conduct on the part of your ex.

Going forward, Texas courts would retain jurisdiction over your case provided that you continue to show that you and your children still have significant reasons to remain here.   

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