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An overview of interstate child custody disputes, Part 1

Child custody disputes can arise either during the divorce phase or afterward as an order seeking a modification to the child custody orders. Most of these disputes occur within the state in which you live. But, now and then, your ex-spouse may move to another state and try to initiate a child custody hearing in that other state. When that occurs, it is referred to as an interstate dispute.

Interstate disputes are slightly more complicated than in-state disputes. Luckily, most states adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA") which imposes several tests that courts must pass before asserting jurisdiction.

Before the UCCJEA, ex-spouses could "shop" around to other jurisdictions to obtain a judgment they wanted. The UCCJEA prevents that behavior by forcing courts to examine the circumstances of the situation before asserting jurisdiction over the case.

Unfortunately, it still requires you to submit arguments against jurisdiction. You can win a suit if your ex-spouse is unable to show sufficient facts to meet the test but this is a risky move. It is safer to confront the allegations in court.

Interstate child custody disputes are complicated and quite a bit to handle by yourself. A lawyer can help you through the process by connecting you with local attorneys and preparing your arguments to ensure that the dispute remains in the proper forum: your home state. The last thing your family needs is another court case. You don't need to let a case consume your life; a lawyer can help.

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