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Today, many former spouses will move to different states after a divorce. Sometimes, this results in one spouse taking the children to a different state from where the divorce proceeding and custody order was issued. According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), lawmakers have created a way to address these situations. It has been adopted by 49 states and indicates which court possesses the power to modify or determine custody after an initial order has been put in place. New York is party to the UCCJEA.

Under the act, a court that established the initial custody order has “exclusive, continuing jurisdiction” over future modifications. However, if the child and both parents move, determining which state possesses jurisdiction may become complex. Ordinarily, as long as one parent resides in the jurisdiction where the initial order was executed, that state will retain jurisdiction. This means that if one parent moves to California with a child, and the parent in California requests to modify the custody order in a California court, the court cannot hear the request for modification until the state of original jurisdiction relinquishes the power to hear the request. The same scenario applies to a parent who moves to New York and is requesting a modification in a New York Court. This parent is considered to be an out-of-state parent.

An out-of-state parent in New York is able to register a custody determination in New York State. In addition, all parties to the UCCJEA, enforce custody determinations of another member state. However, the court in the member state must have adhered to the guidelines set forth in the UCCJEA. With many people moving out of New York State, out-of-state custody disputes have become more common. However, out-of-state custody determinations and modifications to an initial order still remain complex. If you are in a custody dispute with a former spouse who is residing in another state, it is important to seek assistance from an experienced legal professional who can ensure that your rights and the rights of your child are protected.

The lawyers at Larry McCord & Associates, LLC have experience representing spouses in all aspects of matrimonial and family law litigation. The complexities in divorce and custody cases can be overwhelming and emotional. Contact Larry McCord and Associates, LLC at (631) 643-3084 to put an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer on your side.

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