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When can a court decide a child custody disagreement?

Almost all states, including Florida, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This act creates standards that direct courts when they are making custody decisions. When it comes to deciding any case relating to a child custody arrangement, a state court can only make such a decision in cases where one of the below circumstances is true:

-- The state is the home state of the child, which means that the child was living with his or her parent in the state for a period of six months or more. Or, if the child isn't currently present in the state, the child has been residing in the state for at least six months.

-- The child is connected to people in the state. This could be the child's teachers, grandparents or doctors. There should be evidence to support this assertion.

-- The child has been taken to the state for the purposes of safety. This could be that the child was taken to another state in order to prevent abuse.

-- No states can satisfy any of one the above requirements.

In situations where a state cannot satisfy any of the above requirements, the court will be unable to give a judgment on a child custody matter -- even in situations where the child or children involved are currently inside the state. In situations where a parent wrongfully removes a child from his or her home state in order to forcefully cause that state to become the child's home state, then the parent won't be able to receive custody.

Are you concerned about whether the court handling your child custody matter will have jurisdiction? A Florida child custody lawyer may be able to help you review the facts of your case to determine whether your state will be able to hear and decide your child custody dispute, or if it needs to be handled in a different state.

Source: FindLaw, "Interstate Custody Arrangements," accessed Jan. 06, 2017

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