When a family moves from one state to another state or the parents reside in different states it can create confusion as to where to file for child custody. In 2002, Florida adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to help resolve questions of where to file for child custody. A substantially similar statute has been enacted in every other state, so the laws regarding jurisdiction are reciprocal and should not conflict with each other. The UCCJEA is designed to prevent a parent from taking a child into a new state simply to avoid being subject to the laws or previous court orders of the prior state. The UCCJEA precludes the new state from entering any orders or modifying any existing orders until the prior state affirmatively relinquishes jurisdiction. Navigating the UCCJEA can be difficult, if you need help contact child custody lawyer in Tampa.
Where to File for Child Custody: The “Home State”
Typically, the first place to look when considering where to file for child custody should be the “home state.” Under the UCCJEA, the state with jurisdiction over child custody matters is the preferred to as the “home state.” The home state is the state where the child has lived with a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody suit. If no state meets the criteria, the state with the most significant connection to the child should be considered the home state. Generally, the UCCJEA requires the child to live in the state for at least 6 consecutive months before it can be classified as the home state. For more information on establishing a home state, contact a Tampa child custody attorney to schedule a consultation.
Tips on Where to File for Child Custody Under the UCCJEA
- If the child lived in Florida its entire life, Florida will have jurisdiction to enter or modify existing court orders. Therefore, Florida should be a choice for where to file for child custody
- If the child has lived in Florida for at least 6 consecutive months prior to filing THE FIRST LEGAL ACTION REGARDING THE CHILD’S CUSTODY Florida will have jurisdiction.
- If there have been custody orders entered by a state other than Florida that state will retain jurisdiction until it affirmatively relinquishes jurisdiction.
Child Custody Cases Filed in a Different State
Once a court with home state jurisdiction enters a child custody order all other states are bound by that order and have no authority to modify the order. Further, even if a child lives in a new state for over six months, the prior state will still have exclusive jurisdiction over custody disputes, as long as one parent continues to reside in the original home state. See Florida Statute 61.515. This is commonly referred to as continuing exclusive jurisdiction. Under continuing exclusive jurisdiction, all states other than the home state that issued the order are forbidden from entering any custody orders or modifying existing court orders from the original state until the original state affirmatively relinquishes jurisdiction. Transferring jurisdiction can be difficult, if you need help contact a child custody law firm in Tampa for counsel.
Child Custody Law Firm in Tampa
If you need assistance and are unsure where to file for child custody contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a child custody attorney in Tampa. The child custody attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. have years of experience helping parents resolve their child custody disputes. Our professional legal team is dedicated and passionate about these matters and will work tirelessly to help achieve the outcome you desire. The initial consultation is free and there is no commitment required. To speak with a child custody attorney in Tampa, contact us today by phone, email, or online inquiry to schedule a consultation with a Florida child custody attorney.