Are there exceptions to the "home state rule?"
Yes. There are two main exceptions to the home state rule. Please note that this can be complicated, and we strongly suggest you talk to a lawyer before filing anything -- if there are two states involved, you may want to get advice from a lawyer in each. Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals. You can also select the other state from the drop-down menu to find legal referrals in that state.
First, if there is no home state or if the home state has agreed to let another state have jurisdiction, you may be able to file for custody in another state if:
- The child and at least one parent (or a person acting as a parent), have significant connections with the state (more than just being in the state); AND
- There is important evidence in the state about the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships.1
Second, you may also be able to file for temporary emergency custody in a state other than the home state, if the child is present in the state where you want to file and at least one of the following is true:
- The child has been abandoned; or
- Emergency custody is necessary to protect the child because the child, a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.2
1 Md. Code, Fam. Law § 9.5-201(a)(2); see § 9.5-207 through 9.5-208
2 Md. Code, Fam. Law § 9.5-204(a)