5 Reasons Why you Should Care about The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act!
5) Child Abduction Issues Need Uniform Laws!
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) is a uniform law designed to deter interstate parental kidnapping and promote uniform regulations and policies in interstate child-custody and visitation cases. More than 1,000,000 children are affected each year by divorce. As our society becomes more mobile, parents need to understand and recognize the idea of their children living in a different state from where they were born is a reality that cannot be ignored!
4) HELP! My spouse has moved my children to a different state!
Don’t fret immediately. The UCCJEA continues to allow the Court system of your child’s home state have continuing jurisdiction over your child and the custody case. However, don’t wait longer than 6 months to do something about the move! Also, maintain your residence in that home state prior to initiating a proceeding with the Court. Remember that the “home state” is defined as the state where your child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to being taken to a different state.
*Example: A 2-year old is born in Texas and has lived there until one parent abducts the child and moves to New York before either parent has filed for custody. The left-behind parent in Texas may file for an initial custody determination in Texas (home state) within 6 months of the child’s abduction/removal. Even if the New York parent tries to file for custody in New York, Texas will still have jurisdiction, and the Texas parent can move to dismiss the New York proceeding.
3) I just moved! My child doesn’t have a home State?
When your child doesn’t have a home state as defined by the UCCJEA, other states may establish jurisdiction over the child custody case if the child has significant connections to that state.
*Example: A 2-year old is born in New York. One parent has lost his job due to the poor economy. That parent moves with the child to Texas and finds immediate employment and falls in love with the state. Within 2 months of moving to Texas, the Texas parent files for custody claiming a significant connection exists with Texas. However, New York still has jurisdiction, unless it declines jurisdiction in favor of Texas. Further, if the New York parent fails to commence a custody proceeding within 6 months of the child’s removal from New York.
2) My ex is violent! I need HELP NOW!
The UCCJEA can still give jurisdiction to a new state in order to protect the child in emergency situations even if your violent ex has already initiated a custody proceeding in the “home state.” The UCCJEA also provides prosecutors and law enforcement tools such as expedited warrants, expedited enforcement of child custody determinations, and temporary visitation orders.
*Example: A 2-year old is born in New York. Following another violent fight, one parent takes the child and moves to Texas and takes refuge at a domestic violence shelter. In Texas, the parent files for custody on an emergency basis. Texas grants temporary custody to the new Texas parent. After being given notice of the custody proceeding, the New York parent files another custody proceeding in New York. The Texas parent asks New York to decline jurisdiction because of the emergency grounds. The two courts will communicate. The Texas parent is granted custody and the New York parent will likely have to face limited “supervised” visitation.
1) Understand Your Rights!
It is vitally important to seek immediate legal assistance if your child has been moved out of the state without your permission. The UCCJEA is one mechanism that can provide some hope in this type of dire circumstances. If you have questions or would like to discuss your particular circumstances in more detail, please contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to serve your legal needs.