Default Jurisdiction [Family Law] Law and Legal Definition

Default jurisdiction as applied in a child-custody matter refers to the jurisdiction conferred when it is in the best interests of the child. It can happen when there is no other basis for jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, or when another state has declined jurisdiction in favor of default jurisdiction. However, in real practice jurisdiction is rarely based on default because either home-state jurisdiction or significant-connection jurisdiction almost always applies, or else emergency jurisdiction is invoked. Default jurisdiction arises only if none of those three applies, or a state with jurisdiction on any of those bases declines to exercise it and default jurisdiction serves the best interests of the child.