How Do New York Courts Deal with Out-of-State Custody Orders?

After a divorce is finalized, the former husband and wife will go their separate ways. When the former couple has children together, this may result in one of the parents leaving the state with the children. While the state overseeing the initial divorce proceeding generally issues an initial custody order, that order is subject to revision.

U.S. MapCustody orders can be revised by either the state where the original proceeding occurred or, under some circumstances, by the state where the child resides. A common issue in New York family law cases is the state’s ability to enforce custody orders that were made by another state.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Lawmakers understand that situations like the ones discussed above are likely to arise, and as a result, they have developed a uniform act to streamline custody proceedings across state lines. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been adopted by 49 states, including New York, and provides guidelines as to which court has the power to issue binding custody determinations and modifications. It also allows for consistent enforcement of out-of-state custody determinations.

The first custody determination is aptly called the initial custody determination, and it is generally made by the state where the child lived at the time. The court making the initial custody determination then has “exclusive, continuing jurisdiction” to handle future modification orders, unless the child and both parents move, or the child has such a limited connection with the state that sufficient evidence is no longer available to make the necessary findings.

Once a child moves, an issue may arise in determining which state has jurisdiction over the case. Generally speaking, as long as at least one parent still lives in the state that made the initial custody determination, that state will retain jurisdiction. For example, assume one parent moves to New York with the child. If the out-of-state parent in New York attempts to file a request to modify the order in New York, the court may not hear the request until the original state relinquishes jurisdiction.

A parent who moves to New York can choose to register the out-of-state custody determination with New York. While many times this is filed at the same time as a request for enforcement, a parent does not need to wait until enforcement is needed to register a determination. Regarding enforcement, all of the member states of the UCCJEA, including New York, will enforce custody determinations of other states, as long as the court in the other state followed the rules of the UCCJEA.

Are You in the Middle of a Custody Dispute?

If you are currently in the middle of a custody dispute with a former partner who lives outside New York, you may benefit from the assistance of a dedicated New York child custody attorney. Out-of-state custody determinations and modifications can be confusing, and they should be handled by attorneys with experience in these specific matters. The Law and Mediation Office of Darren M. Shapiro, P.C. is dedicated to handling all types of New York family law issues. Call 516-333-6555 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Shapiro today. Only reasonable fees are charged.

More Blog Posts:

Opening Statements in Child Custody Trials, Long Island Family Law and Mediation Blog, August 7, 2017

Cross Examination in Child Custody Trials and Hearings, Long Island Family Law and Mediation Blog, July 28, 2017