Complications almost always arise in divorce, especially in the areas of child support and child custody. A recent case from the First District of the Court of Appeals of Texas required a resolution between the laws of three different jurisdictions. The federal law concerning home state jurisdiction: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA); Texas state law addressing child support modification; lastly, the laws of Mexico.
A couple divorced in 2012. The terms of the divorce decree said both parents would serve as joint conservators, but granted the wife exclusive right to designate primary residence for their two children and required her to return with the children by August 2014. At the time, the wife and children resided in Mexico. She subsequently remarried there.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act
The UCCJEA provides determines which state court will have authority to rule in a child custody case and how to enforce orders from two different states (or countries). When the wife and children did not return from Mexico, the husband sought to modify the parent-child relationship. The trial court granted the wife’s request to decline jurisdiction under the UCCJEA in favor of Mexico in August 2018. The court in Mexico agreed to retain the children there.
Texas Family Code
The original amount of child support provided each month would decrease once the eldest son reached the age of 18. The father sought modification under state law in April 2015, then again in December 2017. He argued the required amount exceeded the guidelines. A hearing in 2020 reduced his obligations to below the child support guidelines. Ultimately, he brought suit alleging the date to which the court made his reduced child support obligations retroactive — January 1, 2018 – should apply to when he first sought modification.
Multiple issues can arise during a divorce. The best planning will not forecast every unforeseen change in circumstances. Attorneys who have experience in family law can provide options for unpredictable times.