Understanding Multi-State Custody Cases

United States BlueWhen you and the other parent live in Arizona and no one has left the state, there is no question that your custody case will be heard in Arizona. However, there can be a question as to jurisdiction when another state is involved. Because of this, Arizona is a party to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which sets national standards for which state a custody case should be heard in.

Under the UCCJEA, a custody case should be heard in the child’s “home state,” a term that is specifically defined in the UCCJEA. The child’s home state is the one where the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months before the custody case was filed. So even if you and your ex lived in Arizona together for 10 years with your child and your ex and your child moved to California 6 months ago, California would likely be considered the home state and the state where the case should be heard.

If the child hasn’t had a home state, such as a child that is younger than 6 months old or has been moving around or bouncing back and forth between states in the past six months, then the court applies a two-pronged test to determine where the case should be heard.

The case will be heard in the state where

1-     The child has significant connections and has lived with at least one of the parents; and

2-     There is substantial evidence in that state about the child’s care, situation, and relationships.

In the rare instance in which two states qualify under this test, then the states are required to determine which of them has the most significant connections with the child.

Because multi-state cases are very complex, it is essential that you work with a law firm that understands the law and has experience in these types of cases. The Sampair Group meets these criteria and is ready to help you with your custody case in Maricopa County, Arizona. Call us today to schedule a consultation about your case.