One of the hardest areas of law to understand seems to be interstate jurisdiction, when, in fact, if it is applied correctly, it can be quite simple. Basically, once a court renders a divorce and custody order, it retains jurisdiction of the matter as long as one of the parties remains in the state. For example, if Mississippi renders a custody order, it retains jurisdiction even if both Mom and the children move to Texas. There is an emergency jurisdiction exception where danger to a child is shown. If both parties leave, then Mississippi loses jurisdiction. The Uniform Law (Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act) that applies to such situations allows a state to give up its jurisdiction if it makes more sense for another state to hear the matter.

This point was illustrated in the recent decision of Yeager v. Kittrell, NO. 2008-CA-01783-COA (Decided December 1, 2009). In that case, Mississippi was the state where the original custody decree was rendered, giving Mom custody. Later, the Mississippi Court changed custody to the Father who had moved to Texas. After the Father got custody, he asked the Mississippi Court to transfer jurisdiction to Texas. The Mississippi Court relinquished its jurisdiction, finding that since the child was in Texas, issues pertaining to the child would be best heard in Texas.
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