What Factors Determine Child Custody Jurisdiction?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 January 2020
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Child custody jurisdiction laws may vary from country to country. Many places, however, consider some of the same factors in determining child custody jurisdiction. These factors often include the child’s place of residence in the six months prior to the original custody proceeding and the parents' places of residence. If a child has been abused or placed in other dangerous situations, these factors may be considered in determining jurisdiction as well.

Jurisdiction is an important consideration in child custody cases. If one or both parents move to new jurisdictions, it can be difficult to decide where a custody trial should be held and which custody laws will apply to the case. Additionally, some people attempt to use their mobility to have their custody cases heard in a jurisdiction with more favorable laws or even to move their children to a new location against the other parent’s will. Child custody jurisdiction laws help prevent such confusion and maneuverings.


Often, a child’s home jurisdiction is the primary consideration in determining child custody jurisdiction. For example, some countries call the child’s home jurisdiction the jurisdiction in which he lived for the six months leading up to beginning of a new custody proceeding. For example, if a child lived in jurisdiction B for a year and moves to jurisdiction C, jurisdiction B would usually maintain jurisdiction over any new custody proceedings until the child has lived in the new location for six months. After six months had passed, jurisdiction C would have jurisdiction over brand-new proceedings.

Sometimes deciding custody jurisdiction is not as simple as determining a child’s home jurisdiction. For example, both parents may move to different places, making it harder to make custody jurisdiction determinations. In such a case, the place with which the child or either of his parents maintains significant connections may have jurisdiction. Sometimes, however, there are no such connections or it is determined that it would be in the child’s best interest to have the case tried where he is living, even if he has not lived there for six months.

In some places, emergency jurisdiction can be established. This may occur, for example, when a child has been abused or abandoned. In such a case, emergency jurisdiction may be established in the new place of residence as a measure to protect or see to the well-being of the child. This may be overturned, however, if the other parent starts proceedings in the home jurisdiction.

Child custody jurisdiction laws can be complex. A person who is a party to a custody proceeding may do well to seek a lawyer's help in understanding his jurisdiction's laws and how they apply to his situation. In some cases, attempting to circumvent such laws can lead to the loss of custody.


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Post 2

@Grivusangel -- That's awful. Sounds like your friend is in a really bad situation. I feel for him.

It's tragic when parents use the courts and their children to punish the ex. It never works out, though. The child gets old enough to see the manipulation and then almost invariably cuts ties with the manipulating parent and forms a new relationship with the other parent.

Tell your friend to hang in there. His daughter will see what her mother has done, and she is going to resent the heck out of her. Kids aren't stupid. After they reach a certain age, they know when they're being manipulated, and they will kick that parent to the curb. I've seen it happen over and over.

Post 1

Well, usually the child's home jurisdiction determines custody, but not always. I have a friend who got a divorce. At the time of the custody judgment, they lived in the same town, with joint custody. The court did not award child support per se, since the child was living an equal amount of time with each parent.

About a year or so later, the mother moved to a town that is fairly close by, but is in the neighboring state. She applied for sole custody and child support, and it was granted. My friend moved to the state where his daughter now lives and has moved heaven and earth trying to get the current court to abide by the original court's ruling, with no success. To put it mildly, it's a mess. He's got a good attorney who has been a real bulldog on it, but no dice.

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