Which state has jurisdiction when parents and children reside in separate states?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

When we divorced, we split up our children and one lived with me in one state while the other lived with my ex-wife in another state.

I would like to change this as the children would like to switch arrangements and swap which parent they are living with.

Does the correction to the divorce decree need to be filed in the original state where custody was decided or in the state we now live in? Which state has jurisdiction over child custody?


Cordell & Cordell does have men’s divorce attorneys who do practice in the state of Texas and would be happy to discuss your case with you.

Every state has passed either the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), which control which state has jurisdiction when parents and children reside in separate states.

Generally, the Court that made the initial custody determination will retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over the case, until such time that the Court declines to exercise jurisdiction or another Court determines that it is the most appropriate forum. Of course, there are factors that will affect that determination.

You should consult an attorney in your jurisdiction to see if Texas would assume jurisdiction in this case to make the changes or if the original court will continue to exercise jurisdiction.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky, office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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