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About interstate child custody

28402965_S.jpgMissouri divorced parents who have children whose other parent resides outside of the state should be aware of the interstate child custody issues that could arise. They should first know of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act that establishes the standards courts use to make determinations regarding custody and when to defer to an existing ruling from another state. The only state that as of early 2017 has not adopted the law is Massachusetts.

According to the statute, a state court can make decisions regarding a child custody arrangement if the state making the ruling is the home state of the child, the child has significant relationships with individuals, such as grandparents, doctors and teachers, living in the state, if the child is residing in the state to avoid abandonment, abuse or neglect in the other state or if there is no state that can qualify based on one of the previously mentioned conditions.

If a state is unable to meet any of the conditions, a child custody judgment cannot be issued by the court regardless of whether the child is currently residing in the state. Also, if a parent has illegally removed or detained a child in a state in an effort to make that state the child's state of residence, custody will be denied for that parent. The statute serves the states that have adopted it it by establishing a form of consistency in interstate child custody rulings. It also addresses the issues that arise when one parent kidnaps a child and then seeks a custody ruling without advising the court of the circumstances.

A family law attorney may assist a parent by working to resolve a child custody dispute. This includes filing petitions to address child custody violations by the other parent who resides in another state.

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