Success Story: Crossing State Lines

Ruth’s daughters meet for the first time

When Ruth’s husband left her and their daughter in California to move to Texas, she knew her marriage was over. So she filed for divorce in her home state without the help of attorney.

Ruth’s husband also filed for divorce — but in Texas. And he didn’t tell the Texas judge about the divorce case in California. When the judge gave him temporary custody of his daughter, it didn’t take long for him to bring the child back to Texas. Confused by the legal proceedings in both states, Ruth turned to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) for help.

TRLA attorneys got the Texas divorce case dismissed and custody order set aside. In the meantime, Ruth finalized her divorce in California. But Ruth’s ex-husband insisted that the issues should be resolved in Texas, not California. Joined in our efforts by a California pro bono attorney, TRLA convinced judges in both states that California had jurisdiction. And when Ruth’s ex-husband refused to return their daughter, TRLA got a Texas court to order him to do so.

After almost a year and a half apart, Ruth was reunited with her daughter. The six-year-old girl met her one-year-old sister for the first time, and today, this family of three is thriving and living happily in California.


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