Child Custody Across State Lines

UCCJEABy Matt Allen

Editor, DadsDivorce.com

Child custody cases frequently involve multiple states due to a party moving post-divorce or even during the divorce process.

A common acronym is mentioned during any dispute involving child custody cases across state lines: UCCJEA.

UCCJEA stands for Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It’s a set of uniform laws states have enacted that outlines the process of avoiding jurisdictional competition by the courts in matters of child custody and to promote cooperation with all the states and help enforce the court decrees of other states, according to the attorneys at the domestic litigation firm Cordell & Cordell.

Basically, the court that originally determined child custody would retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over any and all issues arising out the custody of the child.

Jennifer Paine, a Cordell & Cordell Michigan attorney, said the UCCJEA vests continuing, exclusive jurisdiction for child custody cases in the child’s “home state,” i.e. where the child has lived for six consecutive months prior to commencing the case (or the child’s entire life).

There are cases where the original state may no longer exercise jurisdiction though as part of the “home state” determination under the UCCJEA, said Cordell & Cordell attorney William Halaz.

One of the reasons would be if none of the parties still live in the original state. The original state would also lose jurisdiction if the court determines that neither the child, the child and one parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent have a significant connection with the original state, and that substantial evidence is no longer available in the original state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.

Fathers also wonder about paying child support if a child has been emancipated in one state and then moves to another state with a higher age of majority.

But the UCCJEA holds that if the child has already been emancipated in the original state in a court order, the new state may not “un-emancipate” the child, according to Halaz.

If the UCCJEA applies in your case, then the motioning parent may file an action in the children’s current state to request that the prior state’s court relinquish its control to the new state’s court, according to Paine.

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42 Comments on "Child Custody Across State Lines"

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Chanty
1 month 3 days ago

I moved from NY while I was preganant, I was visiting my mother in NY and had my daughter then left to go back home to PA. Now my ex (not proven to be the father) is taking me to NY courts and my daughter has never lived in there. Can he do this? Legally PA is her home state he would have to file in PA?

Sandra
1 month 14 days ago
This situation involves a friend of mine and my husbands. Our friend got married in California with the plan that both of them would move to North Carolina. They made the move with her 7 year old son. The new wife immediately became pregnant and after about 4 or 5 months moved her son and herself back to California. She wanted to be near her mother and simply hated not being in city. The long distance relationship has deteriorated to where it has no chance of success. Mother and father are completely opposed about where to live. They married with… Read more »
Shenna crowner
1 month 20 days ago
Hi my name is Shenna and I live in SC ,if I wanted to leave that state to go back home to MD with my kids can there dad charge me with kidnapping? We are not married but been together 8 years .I want out and take my kids with me ,can I do that? They was born in MD.And can I file for child support once I get there?8 years Together and 2 daughters and he treats me like dirt,I know he don’t love me but keeps the relationship cause he does not want to pay child support ,I… Read more »
Shenna crowner
1 month 20 days ago
Hi my name is Shenna and I live in SC ,if I wanted to leave that state to go back home to MD with my kids can there dad charge me with kidnapping? We are not married but been together 8 years .I want out and take my kids with me ,can I do that? They was born in MD.And can I file for child support once I get there?8 years Together and 2 daughters and he treats me like dirt,I know he don’t love me but keeps the relationship cause he does not want to pay child support ,I… Read more »
james
1 month 23 days ago

My son, 14, is living with his mom and her hhusband. I’ve moved to il. 2 years ago. Hardest thing I’ve ever ddone my gets to come up here for the summers. 2 months a year. He doesn’t want to be there, he wants to be here with me. They don’t treat him well. Constant arguments and yelling. They don’t listen to him when he speaks, they constantly talk over him, interrupt him or just tell him to go away. What can we do?

james
1 month 23 days ago

He is in az, sorry.

Edward Roberts
1 month 26 days ago

Can this decision be overturned in Maryland’s court. My son was born in the state of Maryland.

Edward Roberts
1 month 26 days ago

My son’s mother moved to Texas 2 1/2 years ago with my son against my wishes. My son was being residing with me since May of 2015. His mother petition Texas courts for custody. March 28, 2016 she was awarded joint primarily custody of our son. Texas stated he was a resident of Texas because he enter their land.

Lucas
2 months 30 minutes ago

This is taking place in New York

Lucas
2 months 31 minutes ago

I also have a joint custody and visitation petition against my daughter mother. I been in my daughter life there entire life and always supported them, now she want to take them to Florida to live chasing her mom and brother since they could by a large house with the child support.I am not taking a lawyer to the first court day. I can afford attorney but I will like to know what’s going on before I hire the lawyer. Am I making a mistake by not taking one?

Jason
2 months 20 days ago

I have custody of my 4 and 7 year old in NM my ex wife lives in CO and wants custody of them. What do I need to do to prepare my self for the situation. I have had them for 3 years now

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