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When an out-of-state court considers your child custody ruling

Imagine you have sole custody of both of your children in Arcadia. However, your ex-husband lives in Nevada. Now your ex is trying to get custody so he can take your kids out of state.

Will he succeed? Can your ex override your sole custody rights with a ruling from a non-California court?

Your custody rights are probably secure

All states, in addition to the District of Columbia (except for Vermont and Massachusetts) operate under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This Act creates a uniform standard by which state courts decide child custody matters. Part of the Act ensures that states honor the existing child custody decisions of other state courts.

There are only a few sets of circumstances under which a state court will have the necessary jurisdiction to override the child custody decision of another state:

-- The state that wants to make a decision is the home state of the child. In other words, the child has lived there for a minimum of six months before the filing of the legal action. If the child has not lived in the state for the six-month period, the court of his or her home state will have jurisdiction.

-- The child maintains strong ties to individuals in the state that wishes to hear the matter. The ties could be with doctors, grandparents and teachers.

-- The child is in the state for his or her safety. Perhaps the child was taken away from an abusive, negligent or absent parent.

-- No states satisfy any of the above three factors, or no other state will claim jurisdiction.

A family law attorney can help you assert your child custody rights

The threat of losing your children is one of the most frightening challenges that any parent could ever face. Fortunately, if you have a previous court ruling regarding your children in California, it will likely be honored by another state. However, you may want to seek representation from a family law attorney to ensure that your child custody rights are secure.

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