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Child custody: When parents live in different states

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Child Custody

With many jobs being highly mobile and people required to move for their positions, many parents in New York must deal with interstate child custody when both parents live in different states. Child custody is more difficult when parents live further apart, because many typical joint custody plans are based on the idea that both parents live in relatively close proximity to each other and to their child’s school, activities and friends. In addition, parents with a child custody order in place may not simply be able to move away; custody orders remain enforceable, even when they seem practically impossible.

However, there are options that can help to keep both parents active in a child’s life, even when interstate child custody arrangements are necessary. The Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act sets out a framework for state courts to follow when making custody decisions. The state that has decision-making power in these cases is the child’s home state, where they have been living with a parent for at least six months. If the other parent moved without consent and court approval, the original state remains the home state. There may be exceptions if the child is in the other state for safety reasons.

This law, adopted in most states, has helped to address confusion that emerged when multiple states would dispense rulings on one child custody agreement. Courts may opt for choices like scheduled video calls for visitation, longer custody periods during non-school times of the year with a parent out of state and other frameworks that keep the parent-child bond intact.

Interstate custody arrangements can present some challenges, especially if the former spouses are in a high-conflict situation. A family law attorney may help clients to protect their time with their children and address their concerns.


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