The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (USSJEA)

he Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is designed to give all states a pattern to follow in determining how to exercise jurisdiction over custodial issues. Since adults today are very mobile they take their children with them as they travel all over the country, looking for new employment, following a new spouse or moving due to job transfers. When custodial issues arise between “mobile” parents the courts need to first determine what court can hear custodial disputes between these “mobile” parents.

The UCCJEA provides some very important terms. One of these terms is “the home state” of a child. The home state is defined as:

“Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with a parent or a person acting as a parent. A period of temporary absence of a parent or a person acting as a parent is part of the period.

Note how the term “home state” is employed in the principal jurisdictional language within the UCCJEA:

Sec. 152.201. INITIAL CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION. (a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 152.204, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(1) this state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;

This law is so critical and so misunderstood that if you are looking at any kind of a custody dispute you should contact a divorce lawyer who has experience dealing with this very complex subject. Call us at 915-593-6600!!