Jurisdiction is defined as the right of a court to hear and decide the case. Jurisdiction in family law cases is generally more complex than civil cases, as each issue within family law has its own jurisdictional requirements. For example, the jurisdictional requirements to enter a judgment of divorce are different from the jurisdictional requirements to make a custody order, which are different from the jurisdictional requirements to make a support order. As a result, the court that is handling a divorce case might not have jurisdiction to make custody orders regarding the couple’s children.
Family laws in California are different from those in other states and countries. As a result, the outcome of a family law case can be impacted--sometimes significantly--by the choice of court in which the case is heard. Therefore, where a party stands to gain a strategic advantage from having the case heard in one state/country vs. another, they may rush there to file the case first, or they may seek to have an existing case transferred there. This can result in a dispute over which court(s) have jurisdiction, and even whether a court should decline to exercise its jurisdiction. The stakes of this dispute can be extremely high, because the substantive laws, the availability and cost of attorneys, and other factors can be significantly different in each of the competing locations.
Jurisdictional rules and procedures are highly complex and esoteric. If you are dealing with, or anticipate encountering, a jurisdictional family law dispute, then it is imperative that you speak to a family lawyer with extensive knowledge in this area of law. At LLM Family Law, we understand the importance of protecting you and your children and we will work diligently to ensure that your rights and your child’s best interests are protected. Contact us so our team can review your case and provide you with the legal guidance you need.
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