It is common that a child custody order will need to be modified years after its initial rendering due to a substantial change in circumstances of the parties or children affected by the order. So, what happens in today’s transient world when the kids no longer reside in the state that rendered the order? You are forced to enter the world of multi-state family litigation.
The key question in multi-state family litigation is which state has jurisdiction over the kids to render a modified order. The Court which rendered the initial Order in a Divorce or Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) is known as the court with continuing jurisdiction. So, when the children still reside within the Court’s jurisdiction and venue, and subsequent action affecting the children would be filed in the same Court. The questions about jurisdiction arise when the children now live in a different county, or even a different state.
Texas has enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to deal with this issue. A court in Texas can exercise jurisdiction over a child if the child has lived in the state for 6 months and the county in which the action is brought for the preceeding 90 days. Even if the child does not meet these jurisdictional requirements, the Court can exercise emergency jurisdiction over the child if he/she is present in the state and is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse. However, this emergency jurisdiction is only temporary.
If you have an out of county or out of state order that needs to be enforced, give the family law attorneys at Hammerle Finley a call. We can walk you through the process based on the facts of your particular case.