Interstate Custodial IssuesEffective & Affordable Representation
Interstate Custodial Issues
If a child is relocated to a new state or a child's parents live in more than one state, where to file a child custody case becomes extremely important. The child custody case must be filed in the proper state, and county, where the Court has the jurisdiction to make important decisions. Where the custody case is decided depends on where a child's parents reside and where the child, who is the subject of the case, resides.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines which court has jurisdiction in a child custody case and what happens when a child moves to a new state. A child must reside in a state for six months for the state to become the child's home state.
In an initial child custody proceeding, the proper forum for any determinations regarding child custody is in the state where the child has resided for at least six months. In some cases, a court may be able to exercise emergency jurisdiction if a child is within the state but has not resided there for six months or longer.
Once a court has made an initial determination regarding child custody and support, that court retains jurisdiction unless the case is transferred. If another court rules that a child's home state has changed and accepts jurisdiction, the court where the case was originally decided may decline jurisdiction.
Determination of a Child’s Home State
The determination of a child’s residency could become tricky if a child has recently resided in more than one state. Courts will consider factors such as where a child attends school, where they are receiving medical care, and how long the child has resided in a particular state. Residency is based on an intent to permanently reside in an area, so visiting a particular state is not enough to establish residency.
Enforcement of Out of State Judgments
If a child has moved with a parent or guardian to a new state, it may be necessary to register an out-of-state judgment and request that a court in the new state exercise jurisdiction.
If you find yourself in the situation where a parent has removed a child from the state without your permission, you may need to register your out of state judgment in also to have that state’s law enforcement assist you.
Leaving the State during a Pending Custody Case:
If you have been served with a restraining order telling you that you cannot remove the child from the jurisdiction of the court, you must not leave the state. If you do, your decision may have very disastrous consequences.