When parents divorce, one of the main concerns is how custody of their children will be arranged. The ideal situation would be for parents to come to an amicable agreement on their own. Unfortunately, this is doesn’t always happen and the court of the state in which they live step in and make the arrangements for them. This article explains which state is in charge of custody when spouses live in different states.
Divorce courts today try to encourage parents to make child custody decisions on their own and often require them to attend mediation sessions to work out an arrangement that is in everyone’s best interest, especially the children. When all else fails, the courts of the state in which the parents live may end the conflict by issuing a court order that dictates how custody of their children is to be shared.
When the parents live in different states, the state that is in charge of deciding upon custody issues is determined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which has been adopted by the state of Oklahoma. According to the UCCJEA, a state may decide upon child custody issues if it passes one of three tests. In order of preference, these tests are:
- If the state is the child’s home state. This requires the child to have lived in the state for the last six months or would have lived in the state for the last six months had the parent not moved the child to a different state. If it is determined that the child was moved to another state simply to establish a home state for custody purposes, that parent will be denied custody.
- If the child has significant relationships in the state with people such as its grandparents, extended family members, doctors and teachers. A parent who moves a child to another state simply to establish these relationships for child custody purposes will be denied custody.
- If the child is currently in the state and has been abandoned or is endanger of being abused or neglected if sent back to the home state.
- If no other state has met any of the first three requirements, or a state that has met one has declined to rule on the issue.
The court of a particular state cannot make child custody decisions, unless it has passed one of these tests. If more than one state passes at least one if these tests, the court of either state may make custody decisions and the judges of the different qualifying states will confer decide amongst themselves which state’s court will rule. Once this decision is made, the other state may not interfere.
Free, confidential consultation: Oklahoma City Child Custody Attorney
Find out more how we can help you with your child custody arrangements, with a simple no-cost consultation by contacting the Divorce Law Office of Oklahoma City at (405) 880-8222. If you prefer written correspondence, please send your question using the “Ask the Lawyer” form at the top right of this page.