How to Change Jurisdiction for Child Custody

Changing jurisdiction for child custody in California can be a complex legal process. It typically requires the petitioner to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstance for the court to grant the change. It is advised to consult with an experienced child custody attorney in San Diego for advice tailored to your specific case.

Steps to Take to Change the Jurisdiction of Your Child Custody Case

To request a jurisdiction change, you must file a motion known as a request for order (Form FL-300) with the family law courthouse in your county. This will initiate the legal proceeding of asking the court to move the case to a different jurisdiction. The request form requires you to include a supporting declaration explaining why you want to move the case.

The supporting declaration is an important factor that is looked at by the court when making its decision. For this reason, you may wish to work with a San Diego family law attorney to make sure your declaration is clear, concise and well-written.

When the court receives your request, it will set a hearing date. If the other parent does not agree with the request, he or she can file a response and attend the hearing to explain why he or she believes the jurisdiction should not be moved. The judge will listen to both parties and either approve or reject the order. If your request gets rejected, you may be able to file an appeal.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

If you wish to change the jurisdiction for your child custody case to California from out of state, you will need to navigate the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). California has adopted this act to guide state courts through interstate custody matters.

The UCCJEA act dictates how jurisdiction is determined for child custody when the child’s parents live in two different states. This is important because a court cannot rule on a child custody matter unless it has jurisdiction – legal authority – over the case.

Where Can I Modify Child Custody Orders From Outside of California?

If you have child custody orders from a different state and wish to move the jurisdiction to California, you will need to determine the child’s “home state,” which is where the child has lived the majority of the time over the past six months or where an original child custody order was given, if there is one.

Next, a California court will decide which state should have “exclusive, continuing jurisdiction” over the custody case. This will depend on where each parent lives, whether the child or either parent still lives in the home state, and whether the child has a significant connection with the home state.

If you and your child now live in California and have built a life here for a significant period of time, the courts will most likely rule that California is the state that should have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the custody case. You can make this change by petitioning the family court in your current California county to transfer jurisdiction.

How to Change Jurisdiction to Another California County

Under state law (California Code of Civil Procedure § 397.5), a child custody case can be moved to another county within the State of California if the change appears to promote the justice and convenience of all parties involved.

Grounds to approve this type of change may include if the petitioner filed the original petition with the incorrect court, if a fair trial would not be possible in the current jurisdiction, if there is no qualified judge to hear the case in the current jurisdiction, if the current court is not convenient to the parties, or if the respondent lives in a different county.

For more information about this complicated legal matter, schedule a free consultation at Boyd Law to speak to an attorney.