In today’s society where travel has become easier and easier, many children have parents who live in different states. When there is a custody dispute between the parents living in different states, which state hears this dispute? The Uniform Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act sets a guideline of when courts in certain states should hear custody issues, and when they should defer to other states. This Act says that a person can only file for custody of a child in the home state of the child. The home state is defined as “the state in which a child lived with a parent … for at least 6 consecutive months, including any temporary absence immediately before commencement of a child custody proceeding.”
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently decided the case of Drexler v. Bornman, which sheds light on what it means to be temporarily absent. The Drexlers were the maternal grandparents of Cameron, who lived in Indiana with Bornman, his mother. Bornman had a girlfriend in Indiana with whom she stayed. Over time, this relationship shattered and she decided to move permanently back to Maryland and live with her parents. However, after only a week of living with her parents, she reconciled with her girlfriend and moved back to Indiana. The Drexlers filed for custody in Maryland, and the dispute was whether Indiana was still Cameron’s home state and thus the appropriate location to adjudicate a custody dispute.
The only issue is whether the one week move to Maryland changed Cameron’s home state or whether it was simply a temporary absence. The Court decided that it was appropriate to look at all the circumstances, including the duration of absence and an examination of whether the parties intended the absence to be temporary or permanent. They determined in this case that this was a temporary absence mostly because the stay was so short. Cameron had lived in Indiana for over a year, and therefore, given the circumstances of the case, Indiana truly was his home state. For that reason, the Maryland case was dismissed and the Drexlers were required to file for custody in Indiana.
These are the type of issues in Child Custody cases which can be very complicated. It is in your best interest to consult an experienced child custody lawyer in Baltimore County to discuss these concerns if you ever have a custody dispute that crosses state borders.
Baltimore County Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC help Families with Child Custody Disputes
Baltimore divorce lawyers of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have been helping parents resolve custody disputes for more than 30 years. The highly skilled Baltimore County child custody lawyers at the firm are committed to providing compassionate and professional legal services throughout the emotionally charged child custody process. Call our child custody lawyers in Hunt Valley at 443-589-0150 or fill out the online contact form to schedule your free consultation today. Conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County including Towson, Baltimore, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster and Essex.