Interstate Custody Issues

What are interstate custody issues?

Interstate custody issues arise when you and your child move to a different state, or when your child’s other parent lives in another state. Then the question is whether the new state or the old state has jurisdiction if you want to modify the existing child custody order? Further, can the non-custodial parent petition in the new state to change the existing child custody order?

How is jurisdiction determined?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the so-called UCCJEA) sets out the standards courts are required to follow to determine whether they have jurisdiction as opposed to the original state that issued the child custody order.

49 states, with the exception Massachusetts, have adopted the UCCJEA. In general terms, under the UCCJEA, a state court will rule on the issue of child custody if:

• The state making the decision is the child’s home state, meaning that the child has resided in the state for at least 6 months;
• The child has significant connections with people in the state – such as a parent, grandparents, doctors, teachers.
• The child is in the state for safety reasons, such as abuse, neglect or abandonment;

Interstate custody issues are complex. If your child custody disputes involve an interstate issue, please consult with an experienced family law attorney.