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Does Oklahoma Have Custody Jurisdiction When One Parent Lives Out of State?

Tulsa divorce attorney for child custodyWhen parents separate, one of the biggest concerns is who will get custody of their children. If all goes well, the parents will be able to make an arrangement on their own that is the best of their children. When this is not the case, the state, which has jurisdiction over the matter, will make a determination that is in the best interest of the child. This article explains which state has jurisdiction over custody issues when one parents lives in Oklahoma and the other lives in a different state.

Our society has become increasingly more mobile so questions over which state has jurisdiction to rule on custody issues where one parent has relocated to another state have become common. In Oklahoma, the state to have jurisdiction in these cases will be determined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. According to the UCCJEA, a state may exercise jurisdiction over child custody issues if it passes one of three tests.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Test

In order of preference, the UCCJEA tests are:

  1. Is the state the child’s home state? This means that child has lived in the state for the last six months or would have lived in the state for the last six months, if the parent had not moved the child to a different state. If the move was made simply to establish a home state for custody purposes, that parent may be denied custody on that basis.
  1. Does the child have significant relationships in this state with people such as his or her grandparent’s, extended family members, doctors and teachers? If a parent has moves a child to another state simply to establish these relationships for child custody purposes, that parent may be denied custody on that basis.
  1. Is the child currently in the state? and:

a. Has he or she been abandoned; or

b. Is he or she in danger of being abused or neglected if sent back to the home state?

  1. Has any other state met any of the first three requirements, or has any state that has met one these requirements declined to rule on the issue?

If a state passes at least one of these requirements, it qualifies to exercise jurisdiction over any custody issues that ensue. If more than one state passes at least one of these requirements, the judges of the different qualifying states must confer to determine which state’s courts will exercise jurisdiction the case. Once a decision is made, that state will maintain jurisdiction over all custody issues regarding that child unless:

  1. It is determined that child, or the child and his or her parent no longer have a significant connection to the state, or no evidence can be found to make that determination; or
  2. It is determined that the child and neither parent no longer reside in that state.

While these rules can be quite confusing, an experienced Tulsa child custody attorney can explain and help you understand how the UCCJEA rules apply to your particular custody issue.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Custody Lawyer

For a free consultation about child custody matters in Tulsa Oklahoma or in Tulsa courts, call the Tulsa divorce attorney at Divorce of Tulsa Law Office today. Call us at 918-924-5526.