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Interstate Enforcement of Child Custody Determinations

As our society has become increasingly mobile, multistate child custody disputes have become more common. Fortunately, the states have adopted a uniform method for determining which state has jurisdiction over a child custody dispute. They also have agreed to honor custody determinations made by the courts of other states. 

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been adopted by New York and every other state. This law identifies which state exercises jurisdiction in child custody matters. A state has jurisdiction when: 

  • The state is the child’s home state, meaning he or she lived there for at least six months before the proceeding.
  • The state was the child’s home state at some point during the preceding six months and one parent still lives there.
  • No other state has jurisdiction or the state, or states with jurisdiction have declined to exercise it, and the child has a significant connection to the state. 

Once a state has exercised jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, no other state may assert jurisdiction or modify that state’s custody order, except in emergency cases involving an imminent risk of harm to the child. This is intended to prevent forum shopping, parental kidnapping and conflicting court orders. As experienced Queens custody attorneys, Bryan L. Salamone and his team are equipped to handle complex interstate custody disputes.

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