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Legal Information: North Dakota


Laws current as of December 28, 2023

What are the exceptions to the "home state rule"?

There are some exceptions to the “home state rule” regarding where you can file for custody. In some cases, you can file for custody in a state where the child and at least one parent have “significant connections.” Usually, however, you can only do this if there is no home state or if the home state has agreed to let another state have jurisdiction, which means power to decide the case.1 This can be complicated, and if you think this applies to your situation, please talk to a lawyer in both states about this. For a list of legal resources, please see our ND Finding a Lawyer page.

You can also file for temporary emergency custody in a state other than the home state if:

  1. the child is present in the state; and
  2. either:
    • the child has been abandoned; or
    • it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, a sibling or a parent of the child is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.2

1 See N.D. Cent. Code § 14-14.1-12
N.D. Cent. Code § 14-14.1-15(1)