What Is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?
The UCCJEA is enforced in all 50 states across the U.S. and provides the courts with a single unified piece of legislation to deal with custody issues that happen across state lines. This saves the court from having to consider multiple jurisdictions and prevents jurisdiction itself from becoming an issue. The sole focus of the law is to establish jurisdiction in custody cases.
There are three important rules that you should be aware of. These are:
The Six-Month Rule
One of the key features of the UCCJEA is to establish jurisdiction in a child custody case. The six-month rule applies to any situation in which one parent is suing for custody sues a parent in a different state. If parent and child have lived in that state for at least six months, then that state will have jurisdiction over the case. If the child is not yet six months old, then the state in which the child has lived the majority of their life will have jurisdiction. This prevents parents from bringing their child to a different state in order to shift the jurisdiction.
In cases where domestic violence is an issue, another state can take jurisdiction of the case and handle custody issues. In this case, the jurisdiction is temporary and once the threat that created the emergency has been neutralized, jurisdiction returns to the child’s home state.
The Significant Connection Rule
What happens when a child has not lived in any state for at least six months? In this case, the court will decide to which state the child has the most significant connection. Evidence will be brought forth to establish this connection.
Once the court rules on the jurisdiction of a custody case, that decision is final (unless it can be successfully appealed). The court with jurisdiction will then decide on key custody matters.
If state lines become an issue in your child custody case, the attorneys at The Colwell Law Group, LLC have experience arguing for your interests in federal court. We are uniquely qualified to handle these issues.
My Children Live With Me and I Need to Relocate
You Must Obtain Permission From the Court
Before you relocate with your children, you will need to petition the court for permission to move the children out of their home state. This is because the parent with whom the children do not live still has a vested interest in the whereabouts of the children. In order to move your children permanently to another state, you must obtain written permission from the court. Even if you move the child within the state and this ends up impairing the other parent’s ability to access to their children, you will still need written permission from the court. This remains true even when the parent has sole custody.
Negotiating With the Other Parent
However, the parent without custody must assert their right to fight the relocation. In addition, many divorce decrees address custody issues and limit the custodial parent’s ability to move without the other parent’s permission. If your child custody arrangement addresses relocation, you will have to negotiate with the other parent in order to amend the agreement.
In cases where no such agreement exists, the court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. They will consider the potential impact to the child, the parent’s reasons for relocating, the quality of the child’s relationship with the other parent, and the degree to which relocation will make the child’s life better.
In scenarios that work out the best for all parties involved, the non-custodial parent gives written consent to the custodial parent green-lighting the move. New York State generally defaults on the assumption that having access to both parents is what’s best for the child. But a relocation may not, in fact, deny the parent access to the children. Many parents make interstate parenting work.
Having an experienced Albany NY interstate child custody lawyer manage this complicated event can help ensure a better result faster.
What Is Parental Kidnapping?
Has your child been taken across state lines without your permission? Too many parents have to live through the frightening experience of having their child taken out of state without permission by the child’s other parent. We can help you take quick and effective action to ensure that your child is returned as soon as possible.
In some cases, children are taken to other countries. If that’s even a possibility for your situation, you should act quickly. A skilled child custody attorney can put out an alert on your child’s passport if your ex-spouse attempts to abscond with them. You can also get an emergency order for sole custody alongside a court order that the child cannot be removed from the jurisdiction (even temporarily).
Creating Solutions to Resolve Your Interstate Child Custody Issue
At Colwell Law Group, LLC, our firm has the decades of experience and skill necessary to resolve the most challenging interstate child custody disputes. No matter which side of the equation you are on, whether your child is in New York or elsewhere, we can help you take action. Our understanding of laws such as the UCCJEA and the PKPA allow us to fight to secure the outcome you need to an interstate child custody dispute.
Our record of service is illustrated on our testimonials page.
Interstate Child Custody Attorney Serving The Capital District And All Of Upstate New York
We understand the urgent need for effective action when interstate child custody matters are being decided. For a consultation with one of our Albany lawyers, call 518-462-4242, or contact us online.