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Knowing where to file for child custody may be complicated

Some Texas parents may consider filing for child custody but are unsure of the procedures, and when more than one state is involved, they may not know where to file. The family law statutes may differ from state to state, and parents may want to take advantage of the services of a legal professional. The circumstances of every child custody case are different, and an experienced family law attorney will be able to inform the parent of his or her legal rights relative to the state or states involved.

In most cases, a claim for child custody has to be filed in the state of residence of the child for the six months prior to filing, regardless of whether the child was in the custody of a parent or other legal guardian. In cases where the child is not yet six months of age, the claim has to be filed in the child's state of birth. Some cases may prove to be more complicated than others; for example, if previous custody claims exist in another state, a new claim may need to be filed in that state, even if the child has lived in Texas for more than six months. A parent who has relocated to Texas within the past six months may need to delay a child custody application.

When the parents of a child live in two different states, federal and state laws may have to determine where a child custody case can be heard. However, in the event of an emergency, temporary child custody may be sought in a different state, as long as the child is currently living in that state. Such emergencies may include an abandoned child, or a child who is in danger of abuse or mistreatment. This may include abuse threats against a parent or sibling.

An experienced Texas child custody attorney will assess the circumstances of every case to determine the best way forward. Because the best interests of the children will remain the main consideration in any child custody ruling, an attorney will typically keep that in mind when suggesting solutions for child custody issues. It is not uncommon for exceptions to exist for most rules, and an attorney may find alternative methods to file for child custody or resolve issues. Our family law website may provide answers to additional questions about child custody issues in Texas.

Source: womenslaw.org, "Custody", Dec. 12, 2014

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