In re Custody of VictoriaAnnotate this Case
Victoria was born in Mexico in 1997 and later moved to Texas. The Office of Refugee Resettlement designated Victoria as an unaccompanied refugee minor and assigned her for placement in Massachusetts. Three weeks after Victoria’s arrival in Massachusetts, the Department of Children and Families filed a petition for custody of Victoria in the Probate and Family Court. The probate and family court judge concluded that Massachusetts lacked child custody jurisdiction under the Massachusetts Child Custody Jurisdiction Act but that jurisdiction was proper where Massachusetts was an “appropriate court” under federal law governing custody and resettlement of unaccompanied refugee minors. The judge stayed further custody proceedings pending resolution of questions regarding jurisdiction. The Supreme Judicial Court held that Massachusetts has jurisdiction over the custody proceeding under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209B, 2(a)(2) because (1) no other state has home state jurisdiction, and (2) it is in the best interest of Victoria that a Massachusetts court assume jurisdiction of the custody proceeding.