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Legal Information: New Jersey


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January 8, 2024

Are there any exceptions to the "home state" rule?

There are exceptions to the home state rule. You can file for temporary emergency custody in a state other than the home state if the child is present in the state and one of these things is true:

  1. the child has been abandoned; or
  2. it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child (or a sibling or parent of the child) is subjected to, or threatened with, mistreatment or abuse.1

Also, in some cases, you may be able to 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.2 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 NJ Finding a Lawyer page.

1 N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-68(a)
2 N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-65