Many divorced parents live in different states and are able to come up with a practical custodial/visitation arrangement for all parties involved.
However, sometimes ex-spouses that live in different states fail to come to an agreement on major custodial issues and find themselves in interstate disputes.
Navigating interstate jurisdiction cases can be very complex, even for the most seasoned attorneys.
If you find yourself in a child custody/visitation situation that crosses state lines, you are encouraged to speak to a Rancho Cucamonga lawyer with extensive interstate jurisdiction experience.
Many individuals who have recently separated from their spouse seek opportunities and living situations beyond their home state. No one’s life is static, and interstate jurisdiction laws are in place to accommodate this.
If you and your ex-spouse have a child together and either of you wish to move, you must first seek approval from the court and/or your custody agreement must be modified. By not doing so, you could be found in contempt of the court for breaching a California state child custody agreement.
Each state has different laws, rules and regulations regarding child custody and visitation. When ex-spouses live in different states, The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is applied. The UCCJEA was created to establish a controlling set of laws to decide which state’s laws should be applied to the custody case. It helps reduce interstate conflict by having a uniform set of rules to establish jurisdiction. This act has been adopted by all 50 states (except Massachusetts – pending legislation), as well as U.S. Overseas territories such a Guam.
Before adopting the UCCJEA, states were allowed to make changes to it where they saw fit. As a result, there are differences and discrepancies between each states version of the UCCJEA. Some state-to-state variations are minor, while others are significant.
These differences make it imperative that you seek the counsel of an attorney with extensive knowledge of the UCCJEA and interstate jurisdiction experience if you want your rights properly defended in court.
Issues arise when a parent doesn’t seek to modify their custody agreement before moving out of state. While there are U.S. federal laws against parental kidnapping, it happens more than you’d think. The UCCJEA has stipulations that prevent parents with physical custody of their child (i.e. custodial parents) from moving to jurisdictions that could be seen as more prohibitive for them.
The UCCJEA explicitly states that a child’s home state is where they’ve resided for the past six (6) months. A child must have lived in California for more than six months prior to the filing of an action for the case to fall under California state law. If this requirement is not met, the local jurisdiction may take on legal authority on the matter.
Similar to custody disputes, issues dealing with interstate child support cases are governed by Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Developed in 1992, the UIFSA was established to modify or enforce child support orders in cases that cross state boundaries. As with child custody, the UIFSA stipulates that only one state can exercise jurisdiction over a child support case, and has specific mechanisms to determine which state the case falls under. As of 1996, every state in the United States has adopted the UIFSA.
Family law is very complex, and interstate jurisdiction is no exception – many attorneys say they are some of the most convoluted, difficult cases to deal with.
If you’re seeking the counsel of a Rancho Cucamonga interstate jurisdiction lawyer, it is highly encouraged to select one with extensive interstate child custody, UCCJEA and UIFSA experience.
The Law Office of Laurence J. Brock is ready to help. We know the pain and emotion that parents go through when embroiled in a divorce and custody dispute. If you are facing an interstate child custody issue and require counsel, please call (909) 466-7661 or contact us online. Our knowledge and experience in interstate jurisdiction cases will help ensure that your parental and custodial rights are protected.