Much like the Georgia Child Custody Interstate Jurisdiction Act (GCCIJA), the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was established to help determine where child custody disputes can be heard. One of the differences between these two bodies of law, however, is that the UCCJEA is intended to resolve interstate child custody disputes, but the GCCIJA is designed to resolve conflicts concerning child custody in the state of Georgia. If you are a parent involved in a custody dispute with a former partner who lives in another state, it can be particularly helpful to understand some of the details about how the UCCJEA works.

Initial Decisions About Custody

Terms of the UCCJEA state that Georgia or any other state that follows the UCCJEA has the jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination in one of a limited number of circumstances:

  • The state hearing the custody dispute is the child’s home state on the date that the proceedings are initiated or the state was the home state of the child within six months before the legal proceeding commenced.
  • If a court of another state does not have this type of jurisdiction or a court from the child’s home state has declined to exercise jurisdiction because the state hearing the dispute is the more appropriate forum. To establish jurisdiction in these situations, the child and at least one parent or person acting as a parent must have a significant connection with the state other than physical presence. Substantial evidence must also exist in the state concerning the child’s care and relationships.

In many cases where the child’s home state is Georgia, only Georgia has jurisdiction to determine the child’s custody.

Modification of Prior Custody Awards

Except in situations in which a child has been abandoned or when it is necessary to protect the child’s safety and welfare, a state court is prohibited from modifying a child custody determination by another state. An exception applies if the court seeking modification has the jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination.

Enforcement of Child Custody Decisions Made Outside the State

Georgia courts follow the UCCJEA and enforce child custody determinations of other states if the court made a decision in compliance with the UCCJEA. To enforce a child custody order that is entered by another state, Georgia as well as all other states have the power to appoint various remedies including executing warrants to take physical custody of a child, expediting enforcement of child custody orders, registration of a child custody order with the superior court of the enforcing state, seeking civil enforcement by district attorneys and law enforcement, and issuing temporary visitation,

Speak with an Experienced Family Law AttorneyIf you need assistance in filing a custody order, you should not hesitate to contact the experienced the lawyers at Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today. We have substantial experience in navigating a number of different types of family laws and will be able to assist you in obtaining the best possible results. Contact us to schedule an initial free case evaluation.