When multiple states are involved in property division and child custody,
a family may need to work through a multi-step process involving courts
of varying jurisdictions. For example, Texas courts operate under the
community property rules, but not all states divide property this way,
which can make the process of dividing property across different jurisdictions
In interstate custody cases, there is a uniform law that helps streamline
the custody process. Known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), it establishes the following rules on jurisdiction,
which can clarify some confusing points of contention during an interstate
- The jurisdiction in the custody case goes to the child's "home state."
- A child's "home state" is where he or she resided six months
before the custody case being filed, as long as the parent filing, not
necessarily the child, resided there for that time.
- If no state fulfills this requirement, jurisdiction will go to a state
where the child and at least one parent have a meaningful, evidentiary
- If no state fulfills either of these requirements, jurisdiction may open
up to any state with a meaningful connection to the child.
These home-state connections may be challenged if the parents and child
no longer live in the state or have a meaningful connection that can be
determined through evidence. If this occurs, the court must evaluate a
new home state to handle future custody enforcement or modification cases.