Can I Enforce the Child Custody Law from One State to Another?

Question:caroline thompson philadelphia attorney

My ex and I both moved to separate states outside the state of our divorce.

I have not been allowed custody of my kids in almost three years even though we’re supposed to have joint custody.

Can I enforce the child custody law from one state to another?


This answer only includes general divorce information for men as I am only licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and cannot provide advice on divorce laws in your state.

Your question is governed by a law called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

The UCCJEA states that child custody litigation will occur in the child’s home state, which is defined as the state where the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to the commencement of the proceeding (or since birth for children younger than six months).

If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months, then a court in a state that has “significant connections” with the child and at least one parent and “substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships may assume child-custody jurisdiction.”

If more than one state has significant connections and substantial evidence, the courts of those states must communicate and determine which state has the most significant connections to the child.

Once a state court has made a custody determination, the state keeps jurisdiction over all matters concerning that child unless:

1. A court of the state with jurisdiction determines that the child or the child and a parent do not have a significant connection with the state, and evidence concerning the child’s custody determination is not available in the state; or

2. A court of the state with jurisdiction, or any other state, determines that the child and both parents or acting parents do not reside in the state any longer.

Therefore, in your case, it would appear that the state that initially made the custody determination would have to relinquish jurisdiction of the custody matter to the state in which your children currently reside.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Caroline Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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