One of the most difficult and highly emotional issues when a couple splits up is child custody. Although parents want what is best for their children, they often lose sight of that in the midst of a custody battle. It is not uncommon for issues to continue to arise long after the courts have issued their final custody decision, with one parent or the other filing modification motions or asking the court to intervene on other issues that come up.
In 1997, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was drawn up by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The UCCJEA was drafted to address the serious jurisdiction issues that arise when parents do not live in the same state or when one parent moves after custody decisions have been made. Different states have different custody laws, so the purpose of the UCCJEA was to establish a uniform child custody law that would cover intrastate custody issues. The UCCJEA has been passed in forty-nine states, as well as in the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. It has not been adopted in Massachusetts or Puerto Rico.
Jurisdiction under the UCCJEA
In order for another state to grant modifications to a child custody order decreed by another state, there must be at least one of three factors present under the UCCJEA.
These factors are:
- The child must have lived in the state now being asked to make a change in custody for at least six months before the filing of the custody modification motion.
- The court should examine whether or not the child has ties to their new ?home state? other than the parent. These ties can include extended family, friends, and child care providers.
- The court should examine the safety of the child. Did the parent move from the original home state with the child in order to flee an abusive situation?
Once a court has determined that it does indeed have jurisdiction based on any of the above reasons, it can make modifications to the original custody order if it deems those modifications are appropriate. In emergency situations, a court can issue a temporary emergency order in order to give the parties a reasonable amount of time to return to the original state to present their arguments.
Child Custody Attorney
If you are facing issues regarding a current child custody order in effect, contact a skilled family law attorney in Plano, TX from Scroggins Law Group, PLLC to see if you have grounds to file for a modification. Child custody attorneys will evaluate your case and determine what grounds you have to request the family court change the current custody order. They can also assist parents who are fighting a child custody modification request by the other parent.
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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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