As some Ohio parents may know, custody obligations are determined by a state court that has jurisdictional control over child support, custody and visitation. However, in some cases, one or both parents may move from the geographical area where the custody requirements originated. When this occurs, a federal law ensures that the state-imposed custody agreement will be enforced no matter where the parents or children move within the United States.

The law is called the Full Faith and Credit Law. It mandates that all states enforce existing child custody agreements despite the fact that the child may be living in a different state. This precludes a parent abandoning his or her responsibility by moving or refusing to pay child support if the child is living elsewhere. The law provides enforcement of all orders, including those that are permanent or temporary and those where modifications were made to the original order.

In the event there is no clear-cut jurisdiction for child custody because the child is living in a different state, the court may have to decide which state has jurisdiction. The parents must show a connection to the state as well as being in a situation where adoption of a new jurisdiction might serve the best interests of the child. However, the amount of time a child has lived in a different state is a factor. If a child lives in a different state for a minimum of six months, a parent may rule to change the jurisdiction.

Establishing jurisdiction may be important when changes are needed in an original custody agreement. Consulting an attorney when jurisdictional issues come up may be beneficial. In addition to knowing state law, the attorney may provide insight into whether the current state or the home state may rule on custody issues or modifications.