If your former partner lives in another state, this could complicate your child custody case. Contact your Orlando divorce lawyer, to ensure that your case is handled appropriately, and your rights are protected.
Child custody cases can be both emotionally and legally complex, and each comes with its own set of challenges, from determining a time sharing plan to the amount of child support, if any, necessary in each case. Parents who live in separate states can make a child custody determination even more difficult. One of the first arguments that will arise between parents of different states is where should a child custody case be heard. If you live in Florida, it is necessary to protect your rights by speaking to an Orlando Child Custody Attorney who can evaluate your case and ensure that it is handled in a way that will benefit your family.
Where a case should be heard is determined by jurisdiction. Jurisdiction, simply put, is the determination of which court has the legal authority to make a ruling on a case. Typically, when discovering proper jurisdiction, one may look to the location of the dispute in question or the legal residence of the parties involved. However, when parents of a child have taken up legal domicile in different states, determining jurisdiction over a child can become complicated. Therefore, legislators formulated specific factors to determine the proper jurisdiction of a child in almost all states in America.
Jurisdiction, regarding a child, is governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) adopted by Florida through Florida Statute 61.501-61.542. This legislation is the governing law in all states except Massachusetts and aims to provide uniformity among the states to ensure the best interest of the child in all custody determinations. The most critical determination the act requires is that the court decipher which state is the “home state” of the child. A home state is defined as the state in which the child has lived 6 months immediately prior to commencement of the action. In order to provide evidence of a 6 month domicile, the court requires the parent to list every place of residence of the child and whom the child lived with for the last 5 years, up until the date of filing of the action. This may be simple for some parents, if a child has lived primarily with one parent in a single state. However, for most parents this is not so cut and dry, as the child transfers between households and careers of the parents cause moves between states.
If a consecutive 6 month timeframe is unavailable, meaning the child has not lived in a single state for more than 6 months, the court may look to the child’s, or parents’ connection with the state. The connection standard must be beyond physical presence within the state. Further, the court will look at evidence pertaining to the child’s protection, welfare, and social relationships. The court will look to the specific factors and totality of the circumstances to assign a proper home state to the child in question. It is critical to win this initial determination, as only one state will have exclusive and continued jurisdiction. This exclusivity will last until a court determines that the child or its parents no longer have any significant connections with that state and a new home state determination may be made. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney can assist you in gathering evidence to support your claim of home state jurisdiction and discuss with you all your options.
If you are in need of legal counsel in the Orlando area, contact an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney who can help you in all aspects of your case.Speaking to an attorney at our office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.