Sometimes one or both parents move after a custody order is issued. When parents move, they often want to modify custody and visitation. However, if both parents have moved out of state, issues of jurisdiction may arise. In a recent case, a father sought a Texas custody modification of a North Carolina custody order.
Texas family law has a strong presumption that it is in the child’s best interest to give custody to a parent. Generally, the court must appoint sole managing conservatorship to the parent instead of a non-parent unless it finds doing so would not be in the child’s best interest due to significant impairment of the child’s emotional development or physical health. Tex. Fam. Code § 153.131(a). What if the parent lives in another country? A Texas appeals court recently considered this issue.
Our society is rapidly changing—from technological advances, to medicinal breakthroughs, to the meteoric ascension of the multinational corporation, individuals and communities are forced to adapt to our culture’s fast-paced global expansion. While there are certainly many factors that have contributed to these changes, our ability to communicate instantly across thousands of miles and travel thousands of miles in a matter of hours has created a society less focused on the proverbial “home roots.”
When parties finalize their divorce or have an order issued relating to their children, what happens when one or both parents have their home roots pulled up by out-of-state job transfers, family issues that require relocation, or new opportunities that send one parent across state lines? Is the order issued in the first state enforceable by the parent who has moved to a different state? Can the traveling parent modify the prior order in another state, or are they stuck litigating in the courts of the state that issued the original order? What if both parents and the child no longer reside in the state that issued the original order?
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act was crafted to provide answers to these questions. Continue Reading ›