In our last post, we discussed a simple and common application of the UCCJEA and how it might impact a Sacramento divorce and Sacramento child custody cases.  Here is another more complicated illustration.  Hal and Wendy live in New York City, NY.  They are unmarried, but have a child, Calvin.  After Calvin turned five months old, Wendy and Hal broke up, and with Hal’s permission, Wendy moved with Calvin to California to pursue an education at Stanford University.  Wendy and Calvin only lived in California for 5 months until Wendy flunked out of school.  Wendy and Calvin then moved in with her parents in Sacramento.  Wendy had been living in Sacramento with Calvin for 5 months when Hal filed for custody orders in New York.  When Wendy was served with the New York child custody motion, Wendy filed a Sacramento child custody motion.

Question: Does California or New York have jurisdiction over Calvin?

Answer: In this situation, it is a close call, but it is more likely that Wendy’s Sacramento divorce and Sacramento child custody motion are going to prevail.  Calvin did not reside in either New York or California for at least the last six months, so there is no “home state.”  Calvin did reside in New York with Wendy for 5 months, so there is certainly some significant evidence of his care, training, education and relationships.  However, he also more recently resided in California for 5 months with Wendy and there is more recent significant evidence of his care, training, education and relationships.  Thus it is more likely that Calvin has a significant connection with California than New York.  Sacramento County court will probably have jurisdiction over Calvin.  New York will not be able to make custody orders and Hal will need to also hire a Sacramento divorce attorney to protect his custody rights.

If you are Hal or Wendy in this example, please give us a call.  Our Sacramento divorce and child custody attorneys are trained to help you understand the UCCJEA and whether California has jurisdiction over your child.