Supposing a custodial parent is permitted by a court to relocate with the child to another state, there are often matters that arise after relocation that must be decided by a court with regard to the child. This brings up a relatively frequent question of which court decides, the court in the child’s former state of residence, generally the “home state,” or the state where the child now resides.
Generally, the court in the child’s former “home state” retains jurisdiction so long as the non-relocating parent resides there. However, a petition may be filed in the new state asking it to confer between courts (i.e., the judges speak by phone) to decide if the new state is a more convenient forum to decide new issues that arise with custody. The child’s former “home state” judge my relinquish jurisdiction if it determines it is a more convenient forum.
This argument is made and more likely successful where the information the court in the new state has is necessary to make a current best interest determination. Courts in the “home state” may retain jurisdiction if there is wrongdoing on the part of the relocating parent, such as denial of or interference with parenting time after relocation. Assuming that is not the case, the following are evidentiary considerations to argue why the information for a best interests determination is in the new state:
1). The child’s doctors, dentists, therapists, et cetera are in the new state.
2). The child’s school and friends are in the new state.
3). The child’s custodial parent has demonstrated respect for the non-relocating parents contact with the child after he or she relocated.
4). The child’s friends, school, and sense of identity are in the new state.
These showing in motions filed and after a conference between the judges may result in an order by the “home state” in relinquishing jurisdiction to the new state court system. This is a relative technical area of the law and a great amount of discretion is given to the “home state” judge. Otherwise, at least the custody aspect of the case remains in the original state unless and until the non-custodial parent leaves that state.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. We hope you find this helpful as general educational material. It is not intended to be legal advice or a specific solicitation for services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates practice throughout the state of Indiana and handle a wide variety of child custody cases with interstate or international components.