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What is full faith and credit?

As difficult as child custody issues in Texas can be to resolve, matters become even more complicated when one parent moves out of state, whether by choice or by necessity. If you are a parent dealing with interstate custody issues, whether you are the parent moving or the parent left behind, you should know that moving your children to another state does not nullify the existing child custody agreement. According to FindLaw, the federal Full Faith and Credit Law requires states to abide by and enforce valid custody orders made elsewhere and prevents them from modifying orders made in another jurisdiction. 

In an interstate custody dispute, determining which state has jurisdiction is vitally important. The law considers the state where the child has lived with one or both parents for at least six months to be the home state. All custody and visitation determinations made in the home state are subject to the Full Faith and Credit Law, including initial orders, temporary orders, permanent orders and modifications. 

As with most regulations, the Full Faith and Credit Law is not absolute, and exceptions may apply. As an example, parents and child alike may have significant connections to the new state, and it would better serve the child's best interest for that state to assume jurisdiction. There is also an exception in cases where the child is less than six months old, in which case the home state is the one in which the child has lived with either parent since birth. 

If the court in the child's home state no longer has jurisdiction for whatever reason, it then becomes possible for a court in another state to modify the determination.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only. 

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Houston, TX 77014

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