Child Custody And UCCJEA: Which State Has Jurisdiction?

St. Louis divorce lawyerQuestion:

What state has jurisdiction of a child custody case if I want to prevent my child from being relocated out of state?

My child and my ex-wife still live in the state we were divorced in, though I have since moved across the border to another state. My ex-wife recently informed me that she is moving with our child across the country.

I need to know which state is considered the child’s “home state” so that I can file a motion to prevent the move that could possibly result in a child custody modification.


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Missouri divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Generally, a court is precluded from entering certain orders in a child custody modification proceeding unless they have jurisdiction over the children. The court’s jurisdiction over the custody of children is determined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

Pursuant to the UCCJEA, a state would only have jurisdiction to enter a custody order if one of the following prerequisites is met:

1) the state is or was the child’s “home state” within the last six months;

2) it is in the best interests of the child for the state to have jurisdiction because a “significant connection” exists in that state;

3) the child is physically present in the state and has been either abandoned or faces an emergency; or

4) no other state has jurisdiction.

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Although I do not know all the facts of your case, it seems that the state your ex-wife and child currently live and where your divorce order was entered would have jurisdiction over your child, and the state they are trying to move to will likely gain jurisdiction over the child, as the child’s “home state,” if he is permitted to move there with your ex-wife.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including St. Louis Divorce Lawyer Brittany Brown, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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