Jurisdiction Does Not Change Just Because Custodial Parent Relocates

There is a common misconception that, after the final judgment, if the custodial parent relocates with the children, in time, their new home state gains jurisdiction of the children for purposes of hearing post-judgment custody and visitation issues.

Generally, that is not the case.

The state that entered the final judgment in the first place, normally retains child custody jurisdiction, until it says otherwise. (Of course, just because a state has jurisdiction, doesn’t mean that it must exercise it.)

Of course, there are common exceptions to this rule. For example if both parents and the children move out of the state, that would typically justify a change of jurisdiction.

Although jurisdiction may not change when the custodial parent moves, the custodial parent may wish to enforce the original judgment in the children’s new home state. That may be possible and desirable.

To do so, the custodial parent should obtain a certified or exemplified copy of the original judgment entered in the original home state and register it in their new state of residence.

Read more in this Honolulu Star Bulletin Q&A piece: Register your custody order with court.