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Jurisdiction in Child Custody Cases

Our society has grown increasingly mobile and people often live in several different cities and states during the course of a lifetime.  Such increasing mobility has created a number of issues regarding what state should have jurisdiction in child custody matters when the parents reside in different states.

Fortunately, Texas and many other states adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  This law gives the home state of a child jurisdictional priority in child custody matters and prevents a Texas court from assuming jurisdiction, except in an emergency, when the courts of another state would be more appropriate or when a court in another state has already made a child custody determination.

Conversely, the UCCJEA also protects parents who obtained a child custody determination in Texas from facing a challenge in the court of another state.  This law grants Texas courts exclusive continuing jurisdiction over child custody matters on which they made an initial determination.

The UCCJEA fosters uniformity and cooperation among state courts.  It does so by allowing the courts of various states to cooperate on child custody matters and establishing uniform jurisdictional rules to prevent confusion and forum shopping.  Nearly every state in the United States as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands has adopted the UCCJEA as their jurisdictional law regarding child custody matters.

Texas and many other states adopted similar uniform laws such as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) and the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) to provide the same uniformity to other family law issues, such as child and spousal support and paternity determinations.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Lubbock. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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