What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”)? Sometimes, in the context of a Divorce, Legal Separation, or non-marital Child Custody action, both parents and the Child may not all live together in the same state.  When that occurs, it is necessary to determine what state has “jurisdiction” over the Child.  This is determined by the UCCJEA.

What Does the UCCJEA Do?

The UCCJEA states that a Court of a particular state where a Child has resided for at least six months has jurisdiction over that Child.  There are certain exceptions to this rule for children less than six months old and in emergency situations.  Whenever more than one state may have jurisdiction over your child or case, it is vitally important to discuss your matter with a qualified Family Law Attorney.

What Happens in Future Modifications?

Under the UCCJEA, the State that had original jurisdiction over the Child will continue to have jurisdiction over that Child for future modifications unless both parents and the Child move outside the state or if the state Court determines that the Child nor one of the parents have “significant connection” to the state.

What Should I Do If I Have Out of State Orders?

If you have Court Orders for Child Custody and Parenting Time from outside of Arizona and you are concerned about enforcing or modifying those Orders, it is imperative that you speak with a Family Law Attorney to discuss your options.  Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to “domesticate” your Orders to Arizona before proceeding with an action to modify.

Many parents in Arizona do not understand the full scope of their rights and responsibilities as it relates to interstate orders. This is why it’s essential to confirm your understanding  with an Arizona family attorney.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.