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What do you need to know about cross-state child custody?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Blog, Child Custody

Child custody arrangements are legal contracts. They require careful consideration and adherence to state laws. When parents live in different states, managing the process can pose unique challenges.

Parents must understand relevant laws to handle a custody agreement between Texas and another state.

How do laws impact cross-state custody?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is a set of regulations that promotes consistency in child custody cases involving multiple jurisdictions. Courts must cooperate with custody orders from other states. Once an arrangement is in place, both parents must follow the court’s orders.

How do states decide jurisdiction?

UCCJEA guidelines determine which state has the authority to make decisions regarding child custody. Typically, the laws give authority to the district where the child has lived for a substantial amount of time. Texas requires that a child live in the state for at least six months before a custody case begins.

Another state may claim jurisdiction if the child has significant associations there. These connections can include family, social or educational ties. States may also assert control if the child is present in the state and at risk of mistreatment or if no other state has jurisdiction.

Where should parents file the child custody case?

In most situations, a parent files a case in the child’s home state. Sometimes, parents disagree over which area is the home state. They may both try to file for custody where they live.

However, the law does not allow two states to handle the same case at the same time. If both parents file, judges from those states communicate with each other to decide which place should handle the case. They prioritize the child’s best interests.

What does an out-of-state custody agreement involve?

If an arrangement is from another state, it includes the same elements as a standard custody agreement:

  • Legal and physical custody
  • Parenting time schedule
  • Co-parenting provisions
  • Expenses beyond child support

Parents living in different states can get joint conservatorship of their children. However, it usually has a different structure than when parents are in the same state.

Creating a child custody agreement between Texas and another state can be complex. It is important to know the legal procedures across state lines.