What if you are considering a Sacramento divorce, but have recently resided outside of California with your children? In cases where one (or both) of the parents have recently resided with the children in other states, the UCCJEA plays a critical role in deciding which state has jurisdictional authority over the children.  The UCCJEA primarily helps decide which state is the home state for the child.  Typically, the home state is the state the child has resided in for the last six months prior to the filing of the custody motion.  If a state qualifies as the child’s home state, that state receives absolute priority in making custody orders and no other state can interfere.

If no state qualifies under the six month home state rule, then no state has home state UCCJEA jurisdiction.  The next determination is where the child and at least one parent have a significant connection with the state (other than merely being there), and substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, educational, and personal relationships is available in the state.

Also, a state that has home state or significant connection jurisdiction may decline to exercise its jurisdiction, and transfer it to another state if it is more convenient for the parties, or if one of the parties has engaged in misconduct necessitating a change.

Any state may offer temporary emergency jurisdiction if there is child abandonment or the child (or child’s parent) is threatened with mistreatment or abuse.  This jurisdiction does not usurp either home state jurisdiction or significant connection jurisdiction.