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How are interstate custody agreements addressed?

It is commonplace for local families to move from one home to another, either within Texas or outside the state. Common reasons include employment, divorce or being closer to grandparents or family. While some divorce agreements stipulate that the parents live in the same area, sometimes that becomes impossible, such as when military personnel is deployed or transferred.

Custody agreements, like other family law agreements, are based on court decisions in the child's home state. However, the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), created in 1968 and expanded to its current form in 1997, enables courts to address valid child-custody and visitation determinations from courts in other states if the family moves. Conversely, requests involving a child illegally moved to a new state will likely be denied by the new state's court because it does not have authority over the case pursuant to the UCCJEA.

The benefits of this act vary, but include:

  1. It avoids conflicting interpretations of custody agreements by determining which state has jurisdiction.
  2. It codifies the practices of addressing these agreements.
  3. It conforms with jurisdictional standards of the Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act ("PKPA").
  4. It adds protection against domestic violence for victims who choose to move out of state.
  5. It can determine initial custody determination.
  6. It can be used for emergency orders.
  7. It can be used for custody modifications.

Attorneys are often necessary for modifications and enforcement

Disputes between parents living in different states are commonplace and can become very complicated legally, particularly when it comes to visitation or living arrangements. Those with questions or concerns regarding their custody agreement, or changing it, may wish to speak with an experienced, Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Midland County, Ector County, and surrounding areas of Texas who can provide practical guidance on these matters and legal options.

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Gunnstaks Law Office
5601 Granite Parkway, Suite 350
Plano, TX 75024

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