If a Child Stays with the Non-Custodial Parent in Another State Do They Become a Resident of that State?

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“If a minor child moves in with a non-custodial parent in a different state and lives there for over a year, does that make the child a resident of the new state? If so, does that allow for future filings of custody issues to be made through the new state?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Generally, a move to a new state for over a year will be enough to establish residency. However if there has not been any change in the orders of the case, the old orders would still be enforeceable.

If there already are Court orders, generally the Court that originally made orders will retain jurisdiction to make other orders in the future. The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been enacted by all 50 US States to ensure enforcement of custody and visitation orders. Combining this with Federal Anti-Kidnapping laws, give extra ability to both parents to make sure that timeshare does go forward, and gives an extra ability to keep custody and visitation issues in the Court where the matter began.

The UCCJEA also works in conjunction with State law to determine the proper venue for an action concerning custody and visitation. Sometimes even if the child cannot currently be found in a State, that State may have jurisdiction based on previous and current familial ties to that state.

With respect to child support, again, the case will stay in the Court where the action commenced, unless there has been an order for a change of venue. Note well that if you no longer live in the County where the action was commenced either (or perhaps you never did!) then there may be a mechanism for the whole case to move. In California, Code of Civil Procedure 397.5 provides: “In any proceeding for dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties under the Family Code, where it appears that both petitioner and respondent have moved from the county rendering the order, the court may, when the ends of justice and the convenience of the parties would be promoted by the change, order that the proceedings be transferred to the county of residence of either party.”

With respect to cases through county support collection agencies, those will typically continue in the County where they are commenced until they are completed. Consultation with an attorney where you live would help you to find which State laws will control future disposition in your case.

Your question begs the question of how one can have a child in their care for a continuous year and not be the custodial parent? If this was not a kidnapping, then there have to be at least some oral agreements to let this happen. Additionally, should a Court look at this case, it may look to the “status quo” (what’s been happening lately) for guidance on how it would determine either short-term or longer term custody orders. These are issues I see (and ones that should concern you!). Ultimately, in California where I practice, the Court would look to a “child’s best interests” to guide it’s rulings. It might behoove you to do the same as you approach your decision-making with respect to your child.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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