If you live in Massachusetts, you likely expect that a state court will hear your custody case. You may have nothing to worry about if you and your child have lived all your lives here. However, there could be a question of jurisdiction if your child has spent a lot of time in another state.
State law explains how a state court will determine whether or not it should adjudicate a custody case or allow a court in a different state to take over.
The roots of the child
A court will want to know whether your child has stronger roots in Massachusetts or another state. It is possible your child currently resides across state lines or has only recently moved to Massachusetts. Additionally, state courts will look at whether a different state has stronger ties to your child and his or her family.
The evidence concerning your child
A Massachusetts court will also determine if the evidence necessary in your custody case is easier to obtain in another state. The evidence may involve the following subjects that relate to your child:
- Health care
- Personal safety
- Familial or other important relationships
Even if such evidence is available in Massachusetts, a court may find that a different state will be able to provide more of it.
Agreement between all parties
You and your co-parent might agree that a court from another state is not the appropriate jurisdiction for your child. If so, you may secure a hearing from a Massachusetts court, provided other factors do not cause a state court to give up jurisdiction.
By knowing how a state court decides on hearing a custody case, you may learn how to make the best possible argument for your preferred jurisdiction.