Multstate Jurisdiction

Multistate Jurisdiction

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines the proper jurisdictional situs between interested states. In California, the UCCJEA is the exclusive method used to determine jurisdiction in custody disputes, which must be satisfied before any court in California can make an initial or modified child custody or child visitation determination. Other states' custody orders must be given full faith and credit in California, so long as the forum court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with the UCCJEA.

The UCCJEA applies in all proceedings involving child custody, marital actions, juvenile court dependency, termination of parental rights, guardianship, paternity, and domestic violence.

The UCCJEA has strict guidelines: (1) physical presence or personal jurisdiction is not enough; (2) priority in time is not enough; (3) the best interests of the child are not considered in determining jurisdiction; and (4) additional criteria apply when asked to modify out-of-state custody orders. The party initiating a California custody proceeding bears the burden of establishing jurisdiction. California gives absolute priority jurisdiction to the child’s home state.

A California court can also exercise custody jurisdiction if all of the following conditions are satisfied: (1) No other state has “home state” jurisdiction, or has declined to exercise its jurisdiction; (2) The child and child’s parents, or child and at least one parent or person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with California other than mere presence.

If you need an attorney to help you establish jurisdiction in California in order to bring an action in court, you can count on Jos Family Law to give you valuable advice and help you through the process. Please contact us for a free consultation at (714) 733-7066 or jos@josfamilylaw.com.

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