Custody Cases Across State Lines

Consider the following scenario. Imagine you are married, and you have a child. You and your spouse decide to move to another state. In a few short months, you’ve embedded yourself in a new job and bought a new house. But your spouse expresses their wish to dissolve the marriage and move back to the state you originated from. 

One of the challenges that arise from the previous scenario is child custody. You have two parents in different states who are about to go through a divorce that involves a child. Divorce laws vary by state, so most people have questions about which state the divorce proceedings will occur. 


When a child custody case involves parents who live in different states, the proceedings will be done per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA determines which court (in which state) should determine the outcome of the custody case. 

The UCCJEA is essentially a series of laws that have been adopted from state to state. Ultimately, they will determine where you have to file to seek a divorce. These are also going to identify where the child’s home state is. According to the UCCJEA, the home state is where your child lived for 6 months before your divorce case began. When you consider the scenario at the start of this article, you will realize that your time in your new state is essential. To determine the child’s home state, the court is going to look at where the child resided in the last 6 months.   

Filing In Multiple States

The other issue you will run into—and it is one your attorney will walk you through—is filing in multiple states. When this occurs, the judges in each state may coordinate judicial conferences where they will ultimately arrive at a decision together. 

Another common question people ask is when multiple states are involved, how do they choose a lawyer? Granted, they need a family law attorney but in which state? Choose a lawyer who is licensed to practice in the home state of the child. The evidence that speaks to the welfare of the child (and could impact custody) is going to be pulled from the child’s home state. 

Cate & Brough

At Cate & Brough, we are more than attorneys; we are spouses and parents. When you approach us with a family law matter, we will treat you how we want to be treated. We believe in keeping families together, and we are committed to helping you stay with your children. Contact the trusted attorneys at Cate & Brough and schedule a consultation. We can talk further about the custody-related services we offer.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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