Are there exceptions to the “home state” rule?
Yes, there are several exceptions to the “home state” rule.
Significant Connections - you may file for custody in a state where your child and at least one parent have “significant connections” and there is substantial evidence in that state regarding your child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships. This exception applies only if your child does not have a home state or if the court in your child’s home state chooses not to determine custody.1
Inconvenient Forum - the court may decline to hear your case in favor of a more appropriate court in another state. Before declining, the court will consider several factors, such as:
- which state is better able to protect the child and the parties if there is domestic violence
- the length of time the child has lived outside this state
- the financial circumstances of the parties
- the familiarity that each court has with the particular case2
Temporary Emergency Custody - See Can I get temporary emergency custody?
Jurisdiction Declined by Reason of Conduct – If a parent has behaved in an unjustifiable way, and that action leads them to file for custody in a particular state, the judge can decide not hear the case. For example: If a parent took the child out of the home state without the other parent’s permission, in violation of a custody order, and filed in the new state, the judge could decide that s/he should not hear the case. If the judge does this, steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the child.3
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 152.201(2)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 152.207
3 Tex. Fam. Code § 152.208