January 29, 2011

Interstate Custody Disputes And The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act

We live in a mobile society. Divorcing parents may live in different states, and the children may travel back and forth between Oregon and other states prior to anyone filing for divorce or custody.  Can you file for custody in Oregon?  What state you file in can have an enormous impact on your custody case, and with whom the children live during the case.  To provide some clarity on where to file, and in what state a custody case should proceed,  every state except Massachusetts and Vermont have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, also called the UCCJEA. The UCCJEA applies to all cases where legal custody, physical custody, parenting time and or visitation are at issue. The UCCJEA sets guidelines that adopting states must meet in order to assume jurisdiction, and requires states to enforce prior custody judgments, and refrain from making new custody determinations.

UCCJEA disputes can be complex, and there is a lot of strategy involved in how to proceed and present your position in court.  If you live in Oregon, having Oregon assume jurisdiction over your custody case can make the difference between winning and losing. If you are seeking to get custody or modify custody, and your children live in Oregon and another state, you should consult with a family law lawyer experienced in UCCJEA disputes. The lawyers of Stephens & Margolin LLP have extensive experience representing clients in Oregon and outside of Oregon in custody and parenting time disputes.