Parents sometimes worry when they share custody but find that the other parent wants to move. For some, there's a very real risk that the other parent could try to flee with the child or move away unexpectedly. There are laws in place to help if this happens.
What is the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction Act?
The UCCJA itself creates four jurisdictional grounds. It creates a child's home state, which is the state where a child has lived for at least six months before a child custody hearing or other child custody situation. It also governs emergency situations such as abuse or abandonment, which both require immediate protections from the state. It creates a vacuum that applies when there is no jurisdictional basis, and it creates a significant connection rule that shows that a child has significant connections in the state and therefore is under the jurisdiction of that state.
What happens if a child is taken to a state without jurisdiction, like in the case of parental kidnapping?
If a child is in another state, the state the child is now in must enforce the sister-state's custody and visitation determinations. The only exception is if the original state no longer claims jurisdiction.
The UCCJA also forces states without jurisdiction to defer to the state that does have jurisdiction in all matters regarding the child in question. The state is not allowed to exercise jurisdiction due to the UCCJA and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.
Relocating doesn't have to be a bad thing, and if you're clear with your ex or your ex is clear with you about what's going to happen, it can go smoothly. Your attorney can help you if you feel that your child may be at risk. Our website has more information.