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Legal Statutes: Washington

UPDATED August 10, 2017

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Article 2. Jurisdiction

back to top26.27.201. Initial child custody jurisdiction

(1) Except as otherwise provided in RCW 26.27.231, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(a) This state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;

(b) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under (a) of this subsection, or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum under RCW 26.27.261 or 26.27.271, and:

(i) The child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this state other than mere physical presence; and

(ii) Substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships;

(c) All courts having jurisdiction under (a) of this subsection have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under RCW 26.27.261 or 26.27.271; or

(d) No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in (a), (b), or (c) of this subsection.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this state.

(3) Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.