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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Interstate Child Custody Dispute? Look to the UCCJEA

In the United States, the first place to start for any question regarding interstate child custody is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”). Drafted in 1997, the UCCJEA aimed to standardize child custody laws amongst the 50 states, and it has nearly accomplished this – every state except Massachusetts has passed the UCCJEA. With the UCCJEA, parents are no longer able to move their children between states to have a court in one state give a ruling that differed from another state court’s ruling.

Here are several of the important functions of the UCCJEA for parents concerned with interstate child custody issues:

  • The UCCJEA determines which state has original jurisdiction for child custody purposes (often the “home state” of the child”) (in tomorrow’s post we will go into more detail how a family can determine which state has original jurisdiction)
  • Once original jurisdiction is established, the UCCJEA does not permit other states to change that initial state’s order unless there has been a significant change in circumstances (for example, the child and parent no longer have any contact with that original state)
  • Other states’ courts do have the power to issue an emergency order under the UCCJEA if the child is in danger, but the court making such an order has to determine which state has proper jurisdiction over the child

Has the UCCJEA played a role in your child custody dispute?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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