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.
Child Custody Relocation The Marks Law Firm
Because your child is involved, if eitheryou or your former spouse wants to move to another part of the city or to the other sideof the world, in Missouri there are a set of statutes to follow so that the child isn’tharmed by the move. A party seeking to relocate must send viacertified mail notice at least sixty days in advance of the proposed relocation, andthe notice must include several components, including the proposed date of relocation,the proposed new address and phone number, the reasons for the proposed move, and a proposednew schedule of physical custody. Once a party receives a relocation notice,that party cannot just sit back and wait;
doing so will result in allowing the relocationto proceed. If a party wishes to prevent relocation, that party must file a Motion and Affidavitto Prevent Relocation within thirty days of the receipt of the relocation notice. Thisis a strictly enforced deadline. After the filing of the Motion and Affidavit, the partyseeking relocation has fourteen days to file a response, and the matter will be set fora hearing before the court. A trial court can only grant relocation ifit finds it was made in good faith and is in the best interests of the child. Whilethese criteria seem a bit ambiguous, and do give the trial court a great deal of discretion,they have more specific meaning. If a relocation
isn’t made in Good faith, it simply meansacting with an improper motive, usually with the intent to deprive the other parent offrequent and meaningful contact with the child. But of course, the Best Interests Standardrequires the court to apply the same factors as in any custody decision. Relocation cases usually involve thoroughexamination of the financial basis of the proposed move, the attempt by the relocatingparent to find suitable employment without relocating, and the impact on the childrenof changing schools and communities. Making a successful case on either side of the relocationissue requires presentation of extensive evidence,
and can require retention of experts and eventhe appointment of a guardian ad litem. Consequently, relocation cases are complex and require theskill of an experienced attorney.