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Determining jurisdiction in child custody cases

For many in San Antonio, the first thing that they want to do after separating from their spouses is relocate. Putting distance between themselves and their exes may be seen as way of trying to move on in their lives. However, if a couple has children together, relocating after a divorce can complicate matters when determining child custody. As of 2013, the U.S. Census estimates that there are currently over 22 million children affected by custodial agreements. It is likely safe to assume that in at least some of those cases, the issue of custody agreement jurisdiction has come up.

Say that one parent chooses to move to another state immediately following a separation. According to Section 152.201 of the Texas Family Code, jurisdiction of the child custody case would still remain with the state’s courts if the children were still living in Texas at the time the proceedings commenced. Even if that parent takes the kids with him or her, jurisdiction would remain with Texas if custody proceedings were commenced within six months of the move (one parent must still be living in the state in this scenario).

A parent relocating with the kids could potentially shift the jurisdiction of a child custody case to the parent’s new home state (depending on the circumstances). That state’s courts could, however, decline to exercise jurisdiction if it is believed that a Texas court would be a more appropriate forum. For this to happen, it must be shown that the children have a significant connection with a parent (or someone acting in the role) that lives in the state, and that substantial evidence exists in Texas that details the children’s care and personal relationships.

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