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

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