Jurisdiction And Child Custody Disputes

22160564_m-300x200In the D.C. metro area child custody disputes often arise that involve multiple states. For example, the children may reside in the District of Columbia, but one of the parents reside in Virginia or Maryland or vice versa. When a situation such as this arises the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) sets the rules for jurisdiction over the child custody dispute.

Specifically the UCCJEA sets the rules as to what state’s courts have jurisdiction to enter and enforce custody orders. The UCCJEA is incorporated into the District of Columbia Code in §16-4601.01, and governs custody disputes in every state except Massachusetts.

The UCCJEA allows for four options for a state to claim jurisdiction over a child custody dispute. Those options are:

• Home state – the state has been the home state of the children for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a custody action

• Significant connection – the children have a significant connection to the state

• More appropriate forum – this option can only be used if other states have declined jurisdiction under the home state or significant connection options

• Last chance – if none of the 3 options above are available this fourth option may be used.

Should you become involved in a child custody dispute contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak with a D.C. child custody attorney about what options are available to you.

Image credit: koca777 / 123RF Stock Photo

How Is Child Custody Determined in the District of Columbia?

One frequently asked question from clients is how do the courts decide who gets custody? In the District of Columbia judges use a number of statutory factors to consider what is in the “best interest of the child”. The factors the judges consider are:

  • the wishes of the child where practicable;
  • the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to the child’s custody;
  • the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings, and
  • any other person who may emotionally or psychologically affect the child’s best interest;
  • the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  • the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • evidence of an intrafamily offense;
  • the capacity of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions affecting the child’s welfare;
  • the willingness of the parents to share custody;
  • the prior involvement of each parent in the child’s life;
  • the potential disruption of the child’s social and school life;
  • the geographic proximity of the parental homes as this relates to the practical considerations of the child’s
  • residential schedule;
  • the demands of parental employment;
  • the age and number of children;
  • the sincerity of each parent’s request;
  • the parent’s ability to financially support a joint custody arrangement;
  • the benefit to the parents.

Schedule a consultation with the Barkat Law Firm now by calling us at (202) 827-9776 or emailing info@barkatlaw.com to speak with a child custody attorney on how to protect you and your child’s interest in a child custody proceeding.

How Property Is Divided In A Divorce In The District Of Columbia

When considering a divorce clients frequently want to know how a divorce will impact their assets. The District of Columbia follows a process known as “equitable division” to distribute assets following a divorce. This does not mean that the property will be divided equally, but rather it will be divided in a manner that the presiding Judge deems fair. The presiding Judge will weigh the following factors when determining “equitable division”:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital property
  • The occupation of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The amount and source of income for each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The employability of each spouse
  • The assets and debts of each spouse
  • Whether the division is in place or in addition to any alimony award
  • Custodial provisions of the children

Contact the Barkat Law Firm by phone at (202)827-9776 or info@barkatlaw.com to speak with a divorce attorney who can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

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