Are there exceptions to the "home state rule?"
Yes. In general, there are four exceptions to the “home state” rule, explained below. However, we strongly suggest that you get advice from a lawyer regarding your particular situation since this can be very complicated:
- “Significant connection” - This occurs when your child has no “home state” (for example if the child has moved every few months) but does have a sufficient connection to one state. Your child does not need to be physically present in a state for a “significant connection” to exist.
- “More appropriate forum” - This is when both the home state and significant connection state(s) refuse to hear the legal decision-making case because the court feels there is a more appropriate state where the case should be heard.
- “Vacuum” - If there is no home state court, significant connection, or a more appropriate forum, another state court may step in and hear your case. This may apply to cases in which children do not stay in any one state long enough to form attachments.1
- “Temporary Emergency Custody”2- For an explanation on this exception, see Can I get temporary emergency custody?
If you have questions about whether your situation falls into one of these exceptions, please talk to a lawyer. For a list of legal resources, go to our AZ Finding a Lawyer page.
1 A.R.S. § 25-1031(A)(2)-(4)
2 A.R.S. § 25-1034