Jurisdictional Issues in Santa Clara County Child Custody Cases

In order for a family court to hear a child custody case and decide on the issues posed, it must have jurisdiction over the case. "Jurisdiction" means that the court must have the proper authority to hear the case. It is important to be aware of this jurisdictional requirement because a court may only have the power to deal with custody issues for specific children in blended family custody disputes. In a California divorce case dealing with child custody issues, the court's jurisdiction is limited to minor children "of the parties' marriage" or domestic partnership who have resided in California for the previous six months (of the majority of their lives if the child is less than six months old) . If a couple has several children but some are over 18 years of age, the court may only address custody issues in relation to the children who are under 18 years old. Generally, a family court does not have jurisdiction pertaining to child custody issues of stepchildren regardless of how close a relationship between the stepparent and stepchild may be. However, despite the lack of jurisdiction, the California Family Code does vest the Court with jurisdiction to her a claim by a Step-Parent for visitation rights with a stepchild. Likewise, the Family court also lacks jurisdiction to resolve custody disputes regarding a couple's grandchildren because grandchildren. However, like Step-Children, the California Family Code does provide courts with jurisdiction to hear a Grandparent's claims for visitation rights with a Grandchild. For more information about California's child custody laws and how the issue of jurisdiction may affect your rights, please contact us. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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