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Many people who are going through a divorce may find they need a change of scenery to completely break free to the issues that contributed to the end of their marriage. That may entail a move to Plano to either pursue new career opportunities or to be closer to extended family. 

Divorce proceedings can often accommodate such a move, provided the individual is still able to attend the hearings. Where it becomes an issue is when the relocating parent brings the children with them. At some point, the issue over which court has jurisdiction over custody issues will inevitably come up. 

Determining jurisdiction 

State officials are often wary in assuming jurisdiction over custody cases due to wanting to discourage divorcing parents simply to relocate in the hopes of maintaining a more advantageous custody ruling. Some parents may even abduct their children away to other states if they believe they have a better chance to retain custody in another jurisdiction. Thus, state courts will often work together in respecting jurisdictional authority in these matters. 

Section 152.201 of Texas’s Family Code clearly outlines the guidelines the state follows in deciding to assume jurisdiction over a custody case. For the courts to consider a state to be a child’s “home state,” it must meet the following criteria: 

  • The state has been the child’s home since the commencement of custody proceedings or was the child’s home within six months of the commencement of proceedings, and one parent still lives in the state 
  • The child and at least one of the child’s parents have significant ties to the state other than their current physical presence 
  • The state has access to substantial evidence related to the child’s welfare, protection and personal relationships 
  • No other court of any other state would have jurisdiction based on the aforementioned criteria 

Waiving jurisdictional authority 

In some cases, the court in another state may indeed have jurisdictional authority over a custody case yet choose to not exercise it. This typically only occurs if, based on the unique circumstances of the case, the other state recognizes a local court to be the more appropriate venue.