Are you in the middle of a dispute with the other parent about which jurisdiction applies in your child custody and child support case? Today, families are mixed and varied. A father may live in one city or another state while the mother lives in another city or another state entirely. These situations can make it difficult when determining which state's rules and laws apply to custody and support.
At The Geller Firm, our child custody and child support lawyer in California knows the law and how to handle these delicate cases. We help parents resolve jurisdictional conflicts as well as other conflicts because it's in the best interest of the child. Contact us either online or call us directly at 415-840-0570 to schedule a consultation.
What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was created to solve the problem of multiple jurisdictions creating and modifying child custody orders. The Act only allows for one state to have the jurisdiction to create and modify any one order, and it also addresses how these orders are to be enforced in other jurisdictions. Almost all states have adopted the UCCJEA.
How Do I Initiate a Custody Petition in California
While the UCCJEA has been adopted by almost all states, the exact way to initiate a petition under the UCCJEA may vary between states. If there are multiple states involved and you wish to seek custody of a child under the UCCJEA, you will need to determine how to proceed under the laws of your state. It will typically involve filling out an affidavit and petition and filing these documents in the appropriate court.
If you have specific questions, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney in your state who has experience with the UCCJEA.
Home State Determination in California
The UCCJEA provides four bases to obtain jurisdiction with priority given to the home state. The home state is the state where the child in question lived (either with a parent of a person acting as their parent) for a minimum of six months immediately prior to the action for custody being filed.
A common challenge to a state establishing home state jurisdiction is that the child did not maintain residency in the state for the entire six months. In other words, the party challenging the finding of home state jurisdiction may maintain that the child left the state for a period of time during the six months preceding the filing of the action. In these cases, the court may determine that the time spent away from the state was a “temporary absence,” and if so, is not a valid reason to deny home state jurisdiction.
Other Jurisdictional Bases
Besides home state, the other three bases the court will consider are:
- Significant Connection: If a child and at least one parent have a significant connection to a particular jurisdiction, that jurisdiction may be the issuing state.
- More Appropriate Forum: This occurs when the home state and the state with the significant connection decline to exercise jurisdiction in a case as there is yet another state that would be more appropriate.
- No Other State: If no state can be considered the home state, or a state with a significant connection, and there is not a more appropriate forum, a state may have jurisdiction under this base.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer for a UCCJEA Petition in California
The UCCJEA is a complicated federal act that can be difficult to understand. Hiring a lawyer to help you make sense of it all and determine the proper state of jurisdiction (as well as file your petition) is necessary to be successful. Contact The Geller Firm by filling out our online form or by calling us directly at 415-840-0570. We will schedule a consultation where we will review your family law issues and start resolving problems so that you and your family can move on with your lives accordingly.