We live in a mobile society where people are able to move with ease from one state to the next.
When conservatorship of a child is at issue, the ease with which citizens move from state to state without restriction adds an additional layer of complexity to child custody determinations.
Namely, each state must decide whether it may properly exercise jurisdiction over the child brought before its judicial system or whether another state is the proper forum to hear the issues relating to that child.
Out of State Custody Proceedings
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA) was enacted to deal with these jurisdictional issues and ensure states refrain from issuing dueling orders regarding the same child. As such, the general functions of the UCCJEA are:
- To avoid conflicting orders in different states;
- To promote cooperation between states regarding court orders affecting a child;
- To discourage parties from removing a child from a particular state in hopes of achieving a more favorable order in another state;
- To deter the abduction of a child from one state to the next;
- To encourage litigation regarding children to take place in the state where the child has the closest connections in terms of ongoing care, education, family, friends, and overall contacts;
- To avoid the repetitious litigants form having conservatorship determinations relitigated in other states; and
- To facilitate enforcement of custody orders of other states.
Determining the applicability of the UCCJEA in a child custody suit is vital to the efficient resolution of the matter.
If the UCCJEA does apply, it is also worth noting that although a court may be in a position to properly exercise jurisdiction over a child pursuant to the terms of the UCCJEA, the court may choose to refrain from exercising jurisdiction in favor of the proceeding occurring in another state.
Additionally, litigants may also seek emergency relief from a court that may not otherwise have jurisdiction over the child if the circumstances of the child warrant immediate action by the court.
Interested in Learning More? Contact The Stout Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
The UCCJEA outlines the parameters with which courts are expected to work collaboratively together to ensure conflicting orders regarding a child are not issued and the child’s interests are protected in an efficient, effective manner.