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Monday, April 27, 2015

Child custody when a child is taken out of state

Recently, I had a chance to chat with an individual who had questions about her son. In brief, she requested:
My son and his father moved from Virginia to Nebraska in June 2014. We were never married and we both lived in Virginia when my son was born. My son's dad got awarded full custody in 2008. I have visitation every other weekend. Since they moved to Nebraska, I haven't seen my son in 10 months. I'm not a pedophile but they're treating me as if I've done something wrong. What can I do?

Generally, under the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act), the court that last had jurisdiction over the case, retains jurisdiction unless challenged. In this case, it appears that the last court that had control was in VA. Ergo, you could file in VA for a "show cause" hearing as to why your ex-partner is not honoring the Court Order that requires him to provide visitation to you.

UCCJEA = Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Covers a variety of topics, but three points are good ones to always remember with the UCCJEA:
  1. The court that entered the last order has jurisdiction and must release it for any other court to have control.
  2. For an eligible court to "take control", a the child and one parent must have lived in the new jurisdiction for at least six months.
  3. Child custody matters are NOT controlled by the UCCJEA.
However, be advised that under the UCCJEA, your ex-partner can now file in Nebraska. The rule holds that once a the child, and one parent, have lived in a new jurisdiction for at least six months, that new jurisdiction may take control of the case. I would expect your ex-partner to file in Nebraska if you file in VA, and seek to have the case transferred there. Likely, he would succeed.

Fighting UCCJEA cases is neither cheap, nor easy. In the end, the judges from both jurisdictions will have a chat (they must, by statute), and determine what court will retain the case. This means that you should expect to retain an attorney in each jurisdiction if your ex really does file to move the case to Nebraska.

Do you have a question concerning family law? Email us or call 1-800-579-9864. We provide free initial consultations, and a friendly shoulder to lean on!

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 Charles Hatley, Esq.

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