What Is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act?


The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) comes into play during a Pasadena divorce if you and your ex live in different states. The law attempts to clarify where custody requests concerning minor children should be heard.

The UCCJEA helps avoid conflicting custody orders between different states, promotes cooperation between states, and discourages continuing litigation over custody issues. The law requires custody litigation to take place in the state in which the child has the closest connection. If a child has close ties to a particular state, this means that more information regarding the child's care, education, and personal relationships will be available for a judge to make a determination regarding what is in the best interests of the child.

There are three different ways to determine custody jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The top priority is given to the state that has been the child's home for the six consecutive months prior to the child custody proceedings, or the state that was the child's home before he/she was removed by one parent while the other parent remained in the state. If no state has jurisdiction under this guideline, the state in which the child and at least one parent have a connection other than mere presence is given priority. If no state has jurisdiction using this rule, jurisdiction is determined by any state that has an appropriate connection with the child.

Once a state makes a custody determination, that state generally keeps jurisdiction over the child unless the child and his/her parent no longer reside in the state.

The UCCJEA was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1997 and has been adopted by 49 states. Massachusetts is the only state that has not passed the UCCJEA, but they have similar legislation known as the Massachusetts Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (MCCJA).

How Can We Help?

If you are a parent in need of legal representation relating to a child custody issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our experienced Pasadena family law attorneys can help make sure that the interests of both you and your child are protected throughout the hearing process.