Jurisdiction and Your Child
when it comes to modifying an out of state order can be confusing and very complicated.
If your child has lived in multiple states it is important to talk with an attorney who knows how confusing and
complicated jurisdiction can be. Heather Hudson has a great deal of experience with the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and can help you make the determination of Texas does indeed have the
right to hear and decide your case.
What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)?
applies in child custody cases that involve more than one state. Each state in the United States has
its own laws about how to make decisions in child custody cases. When multiple states are involved the UCCJEA
solves the problem by providing rules you can use to determine which state has jurisdiction (the right to hear
and decide a case) in your child custody modification. The UCCJEA only applies to child custody proceedings.
The UCCJEA has two sections to it. Subchapter C covers jurisdiction. This section determines which state has jurisdiction to make decisions and orders in child custody cases. Subchapter D covers enforcement. This section determines how an out-of-state child custody determination can be enforced.
For more information on the UCCJEA please go to Texas Family Code 152.
How does the UCCJEA determine whether Texas has jurisdiction over my child custody case?
A Texas court has jurisdiction (the right to hear and decide on a case) if:
1. Texas is the home state of the child(ren). This is when the child has lived in Texas with a
parent or person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the modification or
initial custody case is filed.
2. If the child is under six months old and has lived in Texas since birth with a parent or person acting as parent, Texas is the home state.
3. Texas has an existing order in place regarding the child(ren).
4. The child no longer lives in Texas, but Texas was the child's home state within six months immediately before the custody case was filed and a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in Texas.
The determination of jurisdiction is complicated and extremely fact specific. There are times where Texas may exercise temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in Texas and has been abandoned or it is necessary to protect the child from mistreatment or abuse.
Let the team at Heather Hudson Law Firm, PLLC, help you navigate this process.