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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53 Comments on "Child Custody Across State Lines"

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Michelle morgan
1 month 10 days ago
My ex husband use to beat me and my kids. I got a restraining order and temp custody in louisiana he was ordered anger management and wasnt to see kids until he completed it and petitioned the court for visits. He never petitioned the court.I later moved to mississippi and he and i agreed on our divorce and he gave me full custody with him having visitations. During visitaions he assaulted my daughter and i pressed charges. Nothing was done. So she just quit going for visits.years down the road i was having financial trouble he wouldnt pay chuld support… Read more »
Nicole
1 month 15 days ago
I just recently moved to Florida from california (as in 2 days ago recently)…I’m a single 28 year mother with a 7 year old son..I don’t have custody of my son my parents do..I did nothing wrong for this to happen I actually signed over custody so that he could be covered by their medical insurance (my job didn’t offer me or him any and the medical insurance offered by the state wasn’t any good).I was hesitant to do this but they assured me they would never use it against me..Well to shorten it they lied..I plan on moving back… Read more »
Laura Bridges
1 month 25 days ago

My grandson lives in FL. His FL residing parent was granted custody by a GA court (where the child was living at the time.) Years have passed, situations have changed. The child (age 12) wants to return to GA. Where does the petition need to be filed? Which state has jurisdiction?

Justin Freeman
1 month 26 days ago
I have 3 children with my ex. Her and I were never married and there are no papers, agreements, court orders, etc. regarding custody, chil support, or visitation. I am on 2 of my Childrens Birth Certificates. But I am not on my eldest Son’s Birth Certificate. He is currently 16. I am although, on both minor children who are 15, and 11. All were born in Florida. But neither the Mother nor I or Children reside in Florida. She lives in Michigan, has moved countless times, and has at times(more often than not) unfortunately used my children as leverage… Read more »
Mike
2 months 7 days ago

Can I leave state and relocate with my son to another state prior to any court custody orders? We have not even filed with any court yet.

Juston
1 month 28 days ago

Me either did u get any feed back

Alli
3 months 3 days ago
I am in the process of getting full costody of my son. I live in NY state the father of my son and myself were never married so neither of us have rights as of right now. I plan on moving to California in the near future but I am unsure of how to go about this process or what rights I have. I left my son’s father becase he was physically and verbally abusive to me for 5 years and he had started yelling at our son who is onlying 6 months old in need any advice I can… Read more »
Jeannette
3 months 7 days ago

Child support

KATHY BURNS
3 months 17 days ago

I HAVE CUSTODY OF MY GRANDDAUGHTER, IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND HER FATHER MOVED TO GEORGIA AND ASK IF HE CAN TAKE HER , WHICH WAS OK WITH ME SHE WANTED A PARENT IN HER LIFE, SHE IS NOW 17 YEARS OF AGE SHE RAN AWAY FROM HOME BACK TO MARYLAND BECAUSE OF VERBAL ABUSE FROM HER FATHER HE IS NOW TRYING TO HAVE HER SENT BACK TO GEORGIA SHE WILL BE 18 IN MARCH

Roger Throop
3 months 28 days ago

I have sole physical and joint legal custody of our 8yr old son. My ex moved out of Arizona to Pennsylvania without telling our son she was leaving or saying goodbye. Now she is paying for the round trip ticket for him to visit this summer. I am a nervous wreck about sending him across state lines and the things she might pull. I don’t know what to do .

Chanty
5 months 1 day 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?

A.F.
3 months 18 days ago

There will be a dna test. Plus wherever she has lived for at least 6 months will be her home state and that is where the custody hearing will be, if he is proven to be her dad.

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