UCCJEA: Changing Custody from Texas
If you live in Texas with a valid TX custody order, but then let your child go out of state to live with the other parent, can that parent modify to change custody in their different home state once they have the child?
The issue of custody battles across state lines happened so frequently in the past, it led to the creation of federal law known as the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act (or simply UCCJEA). The UCCJEA organizes how states go about determining which state’s family court will have jurisdiction to make decisions over a child.
Generally, once a state, like Texas, has obtained jurisdiction to make decisions over a child, only that state will continue to have jurisdiction for purposes of the UCCJEA until that state, either makes a determination that it does not have jurisdiction OR that jurisdiction is lost because no parent or child continues to live in that state.
So the answer to the question “if you let your child go live out of state with another parent, can that parent change custody” depends on factors such as the length of time the child has lived in that new state, whether a parent still lives in the state, whether there was a state with jurisdiction through an order, etc.
Parents facing this problem should speak with a knowledgeable attorney to find out their options on getting jurisdiction to remain in their state. As long as jurisdiction is in your home state, then no other state can make major decision involving the child.