Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

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Fort Lauderdale UCCJEA Attorney

Helping You Navigate Interstate Custody in Florida

Florida is a participating state in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act that addresses interstate custody issues.  As a result, if you have legal concerns about interstate custody, such as modifying an out-of-state order or moving to a different state, Florida has legal proceedings according to the UCCJEA to address that.  GFC LAW has handled numerous custody cases in Florida throughout its legal career, and UCCJEA cases are no less manageable.  Attorney Gary F. Celetti, Jr. will take a thorough look at your case and provide you the individualized attention you and your child deserve to navigate Florida’s family legal system.

What Is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act essentially governs state courts’ jurisdiction to make and modify child custody decisions. It requires states to enforce valid custody and visitation orders made by other participating states and also establishes interstate enforcement procedures. More specifically, to determine which state has proper jurisdiction to make a child custody determination, the UCCJEA will consider the following order of priority:

  • the “home state” of the child, where the child resided with a parent for 6 consecutive months immediately before the custody proceedings;
  • a “significant connection” state if the child has no home state, where the child and at least one parent have a significant connection with the state and substantial evidence concerning the custody determination;
  • any state having an appropriate connection with the child if neither of the above is met.

Note that a home state or significant connection state may decline to exercise its jurisdiction and instead transfer it to another state if it is more convenient for the parties.

Enforcement of the UCCJEA

A court that has made a custody determination consistent with the UCCJEA has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction until either:

  • that court determines that neither the child, their parents, nor any person acting as a parent has a significant connection with the state that made the original order and that substantial evidence is no longer available there concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or
  • that court or another state’s court determines that the child, their parents, and any person acting as a parent do not reside in the state that made the original child custody order.

Be aware that, while the UCCJEA governs interstate jurisdiction and enforcement, it does not establish standards for making or modifying child custody and visitation decisions; it merely determines which state’s courts have jurisdiction to do so. However, the UCCJEA does do the following:

  • authorizes courts to exercise emergency jurisdiction in cases involving family abuse and limits the relief available in emergency cases to temporary custody orders;
  • authorizes temporary enforcement of visitation determinations;
  • creates an interstate registration process for out-of-state custody determinations;
  • establishes a procedure for speedy interstate enforcement of custody and visitation determinations;
  • authorizes issuance of warrants directing law enforcement to pick up children at risk of being removed from the state;
  • authorizes public officials to assist in the civil enforcement of custody determinations and in Hague Convention cases;
  • revamps the rules governing inconvenient forum analysis, requiring courts to consider specified factors;
  • directs courts to decline jurisdiction created by unjustifiable conduct.

UCCJEA state courts must comply with the statute when custody and visitation issues arise in proceedings for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, though the Act does not apply to child support or adoption cases.

Let GFC LAW Help You and Your Child

If you seek to pursue a custody issue governed by the UCCJEA, Florida has a specific form for parents to fill out with court.  Attorney Gary F. Celetti, Jr. has years of professional experience working with parents on their interstate custody issues in Florida, so you can trust that he has the knowledge and skill to walk you through the steps of UCCJEA proceedings in Florida.  Whether you seek to modify an out-of-state custody order or petition for a form of interstate custody, Attorney Celetti can help you.

Schedule your initial consultation with GFC LAW online or at (954) 635-2251 to discuss your next steps in the legal process today.