What is the full faith and credit custody law?

As any divorced parent knows, family law is a complex and often confusing area of law. Each state has their own laws regarding divorce and child custody. However, in order for states to be consistent with respect to custody laws and to make it easier to enforce them, there is a law called the full faith and credit law. This law requires that every state enforces the custody arrangements made by a child’s home state. By doing so, parents with questions regarding out-of-state custody issues can relax knowing that custody orders and their enforcement are nearly universal.

Under the full faith and credit custody law, authorities in other states would have to enforce custody orders made by a court here in Texas. The full faith and credit custody law applies to all children under 18 years of age, and also applies to both temporary and permanent custody orders. The child’s home state is the state he or she has lived in with a parent for more than six months.

In order for this federal law to protect families, the custody order in question must have been made in the child’s home state. There are, however, a few exceptions. If there is a question about which state would have jurisdiction or be considered the child’s home state, a court would make a decision based on the best choice for the child. Jurisdiction could also be determined based on where the parents live and current or future plans of care for the child.

Just as with most aspects of family law, the full faith and credit custody law can be confusing. For parents concerned with their child’s future custody or the other parent’s intention to move out of state, speaking to a family law attorney can help.