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About the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

By: Attorney Shira Truitt


Imagine that you have a family that consists of you, your minor child and your minor child's other parent. Whether married, single, divorced, or separated, your family consists of at least one minor child and the minor child's other parent for this article. Imagine that, one day, your minor child went to visit for the other parent out of state for the summer and the other parent refused to return them, or that your minor child was taken out of school early and enrolled at another school in another state, or even that your minor child is an infant and the other parent took the minor child to visit their parent(s) and refused to return. What happens? The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a uniform law that has been adopted by all 50 states in the United States. It establishes guidelines for determining which state has jurisdiction over child custody matters. Additionally, it sets forth procedures for enforcing custody and visitation orders from one state in another state.

The UCCJEA is designed to prevent conflicting custody orders from different states and to ensure that custody orders are enforced and recognized in other states. When a child custody case involves multiple states, the UCCJEA determines which state has jurisdiction based on the "home state" of the child, defined as the state where the child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the commencement of the custody proceeding. The home state is where litigation concerning the minor child will occur. If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months, the UCCJEA looks to the state where the child and at least one parent have a "significant connection."

UCCJEA child custody enforcement sets forth procedures for enforcing custody and visitation orders from one state in another state. If a custody or visitation order is entered in one state, and a parent or other person with custody rights moves to another state, the parent or other person with custody rights can register the order in the new state and seek enforcement of the order. The UCCJEA also allows for the modification of custody orders from one state in another state, but only under limited circumstances.

UCCJEA child custody interstate highlights that the UCCJEA is intended to address child custody matters that involve more than one state. It is important for parents who are involved in a child custody case that involves multiple states to be aware of the UCCJEA and how it may apply to their case. If you are involved in a child custody case that involves multiple states, it is advisable to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal issues involved. UCCJEA litigation can be expensive, because it involves lawyers in both states arguing your case. Additionally, it can be quite complex, even when the physical distance is less than 15 minutes away—but in a different state.

The UCCJEA is a necessary tool for interstate child custody cases. It establishes guidelines for determining which state has jurisdiction over child custody matters and sets forth procedures for enforcing custody and visitation orders from one state in another state. It is important for parents involved in a child custody case that involves multiple states to be aware of the UCCJEA and how it may apply to their case.

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If you need legal advice or a lawyer in Illinois or Missouri, please contact The Truitt Law Firm, LLC for assistance. For more information on The Truitt Law Firm, LLC or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.thetruittlawfirm.com.




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