10 things you need to know about the UCCJA / U.C.C.J.A. , UCCJEA / U.C.C.J.E.A. , the PKPA / P.K.P.A. , emergency custody jurisdiction, and interstate custody jurisdiction
An Ohio Custody Lawyer article re child custody jurisdiction AND UCCJEA.
- Most U.S. States have now adopted statutes which make the UCCJEA ( Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ) the law regarding custody jurisdiction in their state.
- Most states have now repealed UCCJA, ( Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act ).
- Federal law trumps state law.
- The PKPA ( Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act ) is a federal law.
- The PKPA says that jurisdiction to make an initial (first) custody determination must be made in the child’s home state, unless the child has no home state.
- The term “home state” is legally defined in the PKPA and the UCCJEA.
- The PKPA also says that if a child has a home state, and a state which is not the child’s home state makes an initial custody determination, that custody determination is NOT entitled to full faith and credit in other states. That means that other states do not have to honor that custody determination because it violates federal law. (Remember, federal law trumps state law.)
- The UCCJA used to cause a lot of problems because it had a loophole which allowed parents to compete over whether the child’s home state should have jurisdiction, or whether a state that has “significant connections” should have jurisdiction over an initial custody determination. This was a contradiction with the requirements of federal law (PKPA). Remember, federal law trumps state law. So the UCCJEA was enacted and adopted as law in most states, closing the loophole. Home state jurisdiction wins, but only for an INITIAL custody determination. Modifications are different.
- Jurisdiction under the UCCJEA is SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION, and can never be waived. It can be raised for the first time on appeal. Just because a state has or obtains PERSONAL JURISDICTION over a person, does not mean that the state has SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION to make an initial custody determination.
- Any state can still exercise EMERGENCY custody jurisdiction over a child, even if it is not the child’s home study. Emergency jurisdiction is different.