With our sandy white beaches, amusement parks, and substantial job market, it is not uncommon for individuals to be drawn to the Sunshine State to begin a new life after a divorce or separation. However, if you move to Florida with your child, where an out of state child custody order exists you may find it difficult to enforce these foreign orders when issues arise. If you have an out of state child custody order and wish to enforce it within the state of Florida contact a Tallahassee Child Custody Attorney today. We will be able to evaluate your case and determine a proper avenue for enforcement.
All cases involving the custody of a child, involves and is governed by the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. The goal of the UCCJEA is to provide uniformity between the states in exercising jurisdiction over child custody disputes. Therefore, when determining if Florida can exercise jurisdiction over your foreign court order, we must look to the UCCJEA for guidance.
If you are wishing to modify an existing foreign child custody agreement it is important to first determine if exclusive jurisdiction still remains with the original foreign state. If the state has lost exclusive jurisdiction then you must determine if Florida can be considered the new home state of the child and proper jurisdiction for the custody modification action. Statute 61.515 provides that the “state which has made an [initial] child custody determination…has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination.” However, the state who determined the initial child custody action may lose exclusive jurisdiction if: either parent is no longer a resident of the state or maintains “a significant connection with the state and that substantial evidence is no longer available in the state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.” Therefore, if neither you or your former partner remain in the state, the state may be considered to have lost their exclusive jurisdiction. Further, if no information regarding the child’s care involves that state, they will typically decline to invoke continuing jurisdiction. Therefore, if exclusive jurisdiction has been lost, then the court will be required to determine the new home state of the child to determine proper jurisdiction of this case.
Under statute 61.514, the state of Florida may retain jurisdiction over an action if Florida is “the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceedings.” To be considered a home state, the child must have lived with a “parent for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before the commencing of a child custody proceeding.” Therefore, if you and the child have lived in the state of Florida for 6 consecutive months prior to you filing an action for modification, the court will determine Florida to be the home state of the child and retain jurisdiction over the action. Further, Florida may also retain jurisdiction over an action if the court who was the home state or had jurisdiction “declines to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that this state is the more appropriate forum.” Similar to the above standard in determining exclusive jurisdiction, if the prior home state of the child determines there is no evidence or individuals who would provide any information as to the care of the child in their jurisdiction they will decline and suggest Florida to be the appropriate forum for such an action.
If you are in need of modifying a foreign child custody order, contact a Tallahassee Child Custody Attorney today. We will be able to walk you through the complicated process as well as evaluate the need of interstate relations. Overall, we will protect you and your child during this time.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.