Jurisdictional Issues in Divorce and Custody Cases

Divorce and child custody cases are always difficult.  When the parties involved live in different states, an already difficult situation becomes exponentially more complex.  Not only must a family learn to cope with the difficulties associated with long distance relationships, there are also complicated jurisdictional questions that must be answered.  It is important to have an experienced family law attorney assist you in navigating these complex issues.

Jurisdictional Concerns

Prior to filing any divorce suit or child custody suit, the proper jurisdiction to file must be determined.  The jurisdiction is essentially which court has the authority to make a ruling in the matter.  Generally, jurisdiction will be in the state where the parties reside, but where the parties have already separated and are living in separate states, there may be more than one proper jurisdiction.  If a case is filed in the improper jurisdiction, the opposing party may challenge the jurisdiction.

In child custody modifications, jurisdictional matters can be even more complicated.  The states have adopted uniform statutes regarding custody jurisdiction and child support jurisdiction.  These statutes, in some form or another, have been adopted by all states.  The purpose of these statutes is to ensure that only one court can have jurisdiction to modify a court order.  These statutes create a complicated set of criteria used to determine proper jurisdiction.

It is important that you retain experienced counsel to help determine these issues for you before you file for divorce or child custody.  Licensed in multiple states, the Family Law Attorneys at Jarrett & Price, LLC have the experience with these statutes to represent you in multi-state divorce and child custody issues.


UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (1997)

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