Child Custody Jurisdiction UCCJEA The Marks Law Firm
The very first question a court must addressin any custody dispute is the issue of jurisdiction â€“ which means whether the court has theauthority to grant the requested relief. To address the issue of jurisdiction, Missourienacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA. The purpose of the UCCJEA is to provide oneand only one court in the world to have the ability to consider custody issues in a particularcase. Often parents live in different states, and even different countries, after separating,and one parent may want â€œhome court advantageâ€� or wish to find a state where the parent believesthe law would be more favorable on a particular
issue. To prevent this type of forum shopping,the UCCJEA designates the â€œhome stateâ€� of the child as the exclusive forum for decidingcustody matters. The home state is the state in which the child has resided for the sixmonths preceding the filing of a custody action. So, as an example, if husband and wife livingin Missouri separate and wife moves with the children to Illinois, wife may decide to filein Illinois right away so that Illinois may decide custody. However, if the children havenot lived in Illinois for at least six months, Missouri will remain the home state and thepresumptive forum to hear the case. The key thing to keep in mind is that if,after divorce, one or both of the parents
move to another state, seek out a knowledgeableattorney who can make sure you’re not wasting valuable resources seeking custody decisionsin the wrong jurisdiction.