Cases involving child abduction and families that move across state lines invokes the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA applies to interstate child custody cases. (UCCJEA). See Family Code Section 3400; et. al. The UCCJEA has the purpose of preventing parents from moving children from one state to another in hopes of obtaining more favorable custody orders. The UCCJEA prevents parents from taking self-help into their hands by moving from one state to another to receive more favorable custody orders. When the UCCJEA is properly raised in court, Judges from two different states can be forced to discuss your case and determine where jurisdiction (what state) will be proper to hear your case. If your child is abducted or you want to prevent them from moving across state-lines you need attorney that knows the UCCJEA.
When a UCCJEA issue comes up in court it is important to consider the home state of the child.
What is the Child’s Home State?
The court must determine the “home state” of a child. Under Family Code Section 3402 (g), “home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned person is part of the period.
In re Marriage of Sareen, 153 Cal.App.4th 371, held that the time spent by a child after the filing of a child custody determination may not be counted towards the six months necessary for “home state” jurisdiction.
All fifty states are parties to the UCCJEA. If you are not careful and appear on a case, where UCCJEA issues arise, you may waive your right to contest jurisdiction in another state. Therefore, having an attorney knowledgeable in these procedures to guide you along is absolutely necessary.
If you have obtained a custody or visitation order from another state that you wish to have enforced in the State of California, you are required to properly register that order with the court.