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PHYSICAL RESIDENCE NOT INTENT IS DETERMINING FACTOR IN DETERMINING HOME STATE

On January 8, 2019

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Here’s a good case that shows how determining a home state is determined by the facts on the ground, and not the intent of the parents.

C.H. v. S.L., No. 02-16-00386-CV, 2018 WL 4925318 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2018, no pet. h.) (mem. op.) (10-11-18).

The parties lived in Minnesota for a time, when Husband moved to Texas alone. After several years, Wife and the Child moved to Texas. Wife claimed that over the next five years, she and the Child travelled back and forth between Texas and Minnesota, however she considered Minnesota her “home.” Despite this, Wife had a Texas driver’s license, and the Child was enrolled in Texas schools. Shortly after Husband filed for divorce, Wife moved back to Minnesota and challenged Texas’s jurisdiction. Wife appealed and the appellate court confirmed that the subjective intent regarding the Child’s home state was not relevant. Per the UCCJEA, home state is based on the Child’s physical presence as the “central factor” in making that determination. The Child was in Texas for six consecutive months at the time Husband filed his petition so Texas was the home state.

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