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Determining home state in interstate custody cases

In Connecticut, some couples may be facing the challenge of interstate custody arrangements. Knowing how these cases are handled can help parents prepare themselves for court. In many of these cases, jurisdiction plays a large role in how child custody decisions are made, and a number of factors determines jurisdiction.

The length of time that a child has lived in a state will play an important role in the final decision. If a child lived in a given state for six months before the custody dispute arose, then that state is considered the home state and will be responsible for making rulings. If a parent removed the child from this state without consent of the other party or an official court order, then the child may still be viewed as a resident even though he or she is absent. In most cases, a parent who wrongfully removes a child from a state will be denied custody.

There are some factors that can result in a state being chosen as the home state even when the child has not resided there for the six previous months. Significant connections with people in the state, which includes relationships with doctors, grandparents, teachers and close friends, are taken into account. If the child was moved to another state to protect them from abuse, neglect or abandonment, then the six-month required may be dropped.

Child custody arrangements can be difficult to work out, and it becomes harder when one parent resides in another state. However, each parent might have rights to visitation and aspects of the child's life. Because these arrangements can be difficult to negotiate to the benefit of all the involved parties, a person who is involved in a child custody case might benefit from working with a family law lawyer.

Source: Findlaw, "Interstate Custody Arrangements", September 02, 2014

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