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Interstate Child Custody Jurisdiction Questions Answered

by | Mar 20, 2018 | child custody and support, divorce lawyer long island ny, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, News and Events

Due to our high cost of living, raising a family on Long Island in a two-income household is challenging enough, but trying to do it on one income can be a daunting task. This leads to many parents moving out of New York after their divorce in search of a better living situation for their family. Moving into and out of New York State can have consequences on your Child Custody proceeding.

Governing Law for Interstate Child Custody Jurisdiction

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Prior to 1997, the easy mobility of families created a complex system in which different states would have conflicting child custody arrangements. For example, a Connecticut court may make an initial determination regarding custody, granting the mother residential custody. Dad would then move out of state to New York and file a separate Child Custody Petition and the New York court would make its own decision. While technically speaking, the New York court would have been required to adhere to the Connecticut decision, sometimes this wouldn’t happen, and confusion would ensue.

To create a more unified system, in 1997 the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was passed. Since 1997, 49 states (including New York) have adopted this legislation. It is this legislation that determines a state’s ability to hear your Child Custody case.

What is Interstate Child Custody Jurisdiction?

For a court to hear your Child Custody case, or any case for that matter, it must first have jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of the case. It is well established in New York that Family Court and Supreme Court have concurrent jurisdiction over certain subject matter, including your Child Custody case. Notwithstanding, the state must also have jurisdiction over the parties so as to render a valid judgment. If the state does not have jurisdiction over the parties (here, both parents and the child(ren)), then any Judgment or Order entered may not be valid. As discussed above, there used to be challenges in determining which state had jurisdiction over a Child Custody case when a family has been very mobile. The UCCJEA set out to solve that problem.

How Does the UCCJEA Work?

According to the UCCJEA, a state has jurisdiction to make a child custody determination only if:

  • the state is the home state of the child on the date of commencement; or
  • was the home state of the child within 6 months prior to the commencement of the proceeding (this also requires that one parent/guardian remain in the home state).

It is important to note that the UCCJEA defines a child’s “home state” as the state in which a child has lived with a parent or guardian for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before the commencement of the proceeding. If the child is less than six months in age, the home state is that in which the child has lived from birth with either a parent or guardian.

It’s also important to realize that the UCCJEA grants exclusive, continuing jurisdiction to the court that makes a proper custody determination under its rules. This jurisdiction extends until the original court determines that neither the child nor the parent/guardian continue to reside in that state, or the child no longer has a significant connection with the state and substantial evidence relating to the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships is no longer available in the state. So, if New York is the child’s home state and you bring a proper Child Custody Petition in the New York Courts, any modifications that you seek will need to be done in New York. A court of a different state cannot make or modify a custody determination while another state has exclusive and continuing jurisdiction, absent certain statutory exceptions.

Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?

To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation

Need Help With Child Custody on Long Island? Contact Us for a Free Consultation

As you can see, Child Custody cases can get very technical and require a familiarity with different rules and statutes. If you find yourself in the midst of, or contemplating, a Child Custody proceeding, it is important that you seek legal representation to adequately protect your interests. Should you have further questions or wish to seek legal representation, please contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation.

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Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.
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20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made... such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.read more
Janine Martello D'onofrio
Janine Martello D'onofrio
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Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
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Tara Tocci
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I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
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Kerri
Kerri
16:57 17 Sep 21
Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
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Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
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Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular... basis.read more
LilMissPerfct Dessie
LilMissPerfct Dessie
06:46 11 Feb 21
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Anastasia R
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Annemarie Cusumano
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22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
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Ashley Hubner
20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with divorce.read more
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Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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