In movies and television shows, divorced parents may live in the same town or sometimes just down the street. While this sometimes happens, many parents live much farther away from each other. In fact, sometimes parents live in different states. However, they can still share custody of their children.
How Does Interstate Custody Work?
Usually, the state that issues the parenting time schedule retains jurisdiction. However, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, jurisdiction can be changed depending upon where the child is living and how long he or she has been living there.
Under the UCCJEA, an initial custody determination is made in the child’s home state which is defined as where the child has lived for the last six months. In most instances, the courts in other states will defer to the child’s home state when making a custody determination, although there are some situations where the courts will take jurisdiction even if it is not the child’s home state.
- Inconvenient forum. If the home state court determines that another state would be more convenient, then it must decline jurisdiction and allow the other state to take on the case. The court may look at the child’s ties to the state and its ties to the home state which includes such factors as blood relatives, therapists, schooling and protection orders.
- Emergency jurisdiction. A court may exercise jurisdiction if the child has been removed from another state because of danger. For instance, a child who is moved to New Jersey because of abuse in a different state may claim New Jersey as the state of residence. Therefore, the state could take jurisdiction when determining custody. However, an order from the court exercising emergency jurisdiction may be temporary as the court is looking to protect the person petitioning the court.
- Unjustifiable conduct. The court may assert jurisdiction when one party has engaged in unjustifiable conduct. For example, (a) if a child was removed from a state without telling the other parent and (b) if a parent withholds information about the child’s location. If the state that was petitioned for a custody determination learns of the unjustifiable conduct, the court may penalize the wrongdoer and order a temporary parenting time schedule while at the same time ordering that the child be returned to the home state and a permanent resolution be determined in the home state court.
- No other state can claim jurisdiction. Under this situation, if no other state can claim to be the child’s home state, then the court may assert jurisdiction.
Should Divorcing Parents Obtain Attorneys for Interstate Custody?
Although parents who are divorced do not need to retain the help of legal professionals, many prefer to retain the services of a knowledgeable family law attorney well-versed in matters related to child custody and interstate custody situations.
Woodbridge Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients with Interstate Custody Agreements
If you have concerns regarding interstate custody, contact a Woodbridge child custody lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Call us at 908-575-9777 or fill out an online form to set up a free consultation. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.